A typical green salad is low in bad fats, low in calories and high in nutritional value
. However, adding too many of the wrong ingredients can make a healthy salad
into an unhealthy salad. Here are the things that happen to turn a good salad bad.
Using Only Iceberg lettuceIceberg lettuce
has a nice crunch, but almost no nutritional value beyond being a source of water. Use a variety of darker greens like spinach, leaf lettuce, arugula, dandelion greens, kale
, watercress and basil leaves. The darker the leaves the better, they're richer in folate
, minerals and phytochemicals
Using Lots of Croutons and Bacon BitsThese extra toppings don't add any nutritional value, but they do add a lot of calories if you pile them on. One-half cup of croutons has about 100 calories and bacon bits are loaded with fat and artificial ingredients. There are better ways to add crunch to your salad. A tablespoon or two of chopped walnuts or flax seeds have omega-3 fatty acids for your heart and nervous system, plus they have fiber, which your body needs for a healthy digestive system.
Adding Extra Cheese
Cheese is a great source of calcium
and protein, but pay attention to how much cheese you are using. A serving of cheese is about one and one-half ounces - or about the size of a pair of dice. You can also use vegetarian cheese substitutes
made from rice or soy.
Adding Fried and Processed Meats
Adding slices of cooked chicken breast
can transform a salad into a full-fledged meal. However, adding three deep-fried chicken strips to a salad will turn a healthy salad into a health-disaster. Deep fried meats add extra fat and lots of calories. Another health-busting idea is to add several slices of processed sandwich meats, which have been associated with an increased risk of certain types of cancer.
Drenching Your Salad With DressingSalads are usually topped with a bit of dressing, but since salad dressings are generally high in calories, you need to watch your portion size. A serving of salad dressing is only two tablespoons and most dressings have about 100 to 200 calories per serving. A better idea is to forgo the salad dressing and squeeze some fresh lemon and lime juice on your salad, or use some salsa as a topping.