Salads are healthy, but it’s they can easily become unhealthy up piling on certain ingredients. Here are our top 6 ingredients that will stack on the calories.
- Creamy Dressing:
General rule – anything pre-made and or creamy is usually bad. Dressings such as Ranch, blue cheese, and other creamy dressings tend to be super high in calories and fats that can quickly turn your good intentions of a salad into a calorie overload.
Tip: For similar texture—without the calorie disaster — try plain Greek yogurt or you could blend some balsamic vinegar with an avocado.
- Fat-Free Dressing
Steer clear of the artificial ingredient-laden reduced-fat or fat-free drizzles. Manufacturers generally add more sugar when fat is removed from a product in order to boost flavour. Added sugar is much more detrimental to long-term health than fat, and in some cases is more directly linked to chronic disease and metabolic syndrome.
Plus, in order for your cells to absorb the fat-soluble vitamins (such as the vitamin K or beta-carotene in carrots), they need fats.
Tip: Don’t want to use full-fat dressing? Cool – just top your salad with fresh lemon juice, or your favorite vinegar, and a teaspoon of olive oil.
We know croutons are added to salads for their texture, not their nutritional value. Looking to add that crunch? Try sprinkling on some nuts rather than toasted white bread croutons, which are totally void of any nutritional value.
Nuts are composed of healthy fats but they also add a hefty dose of protein. About 28 grams of almonds, provides around six grams of protein. Approximately the same amount of protein found in 28 grams of cheese or chicken.
- Bacon / Bacon Bits
If you’re after something salty, get your salt fix by adding a few pickle slices rather than bacon – this will limit the extra fats. But what’s worse than regular bacon slices, are bacon bits. The bits are more often than not, not even bacon at all! They are just made with soy, flours, and additives. Another great savory protein-packed alternative would be half hard-boiled egg instead or toss in a small handful of grilled chicken bits.
You want to avoid starchy carbs like corn or even potato in excess! Salads should be bright in colour but you should aim to include as many dark green, purple, and red colours as you can; these tend to be non-starchy forms of vegetables.
- Fried Garnishes
The fat in these seemingly harmless toppings in fried onions, crunchy noodles or wonton strips can add up quickly! Again replace with raw or unsalted nuts or seeds, or add extra raw veggies like carrots, to get similar crunch with next to no extra calories.