When someone goes on a diet, one food type that seems to always come into play is a salad. All that lettuce, the carrots and other veggies piled on a plate can lead someone to feel they’re actually eating a healthy meal. However, truth be told, a salad may be one of the most unhealthy foods you can eat.
How, one may ask? It may be hard to believe, since lettuce, celery, cucumbers, carrots, red cabbage and a wide variety of other obvious salad ingredients all have little to no caloric content, even though they’re high in vitamin content. Many would feel that this would be an optimal solution for a healthy meal choice. If that were all most people included in their salad, it would be.
Unfortunately, most people want a little more flavor to meals than a bland salad and that’s where the problems creep in. Here are a few things people put on salads that not only negates the nutritional value of the veggies, but can push a salad into an unhealthy choice for a food.
- High calorie salad dressings such as Ranch, Blue Cheese and Creamy Italian.Even the “low fat” versions of these are still high in calories.
- Croutons. While they definitely add character and flavor to a salad, these are still bits of bread with oils and spices. Not only does this add calories, but may include trans-fats as well.
- Meats such as pepperoni, salami, ham, bacon bits or chicken. Processed meats are usually filled with a variety of unhealthy additives and, even though ham and chicken may be a healthy alternative, the way they’re prepared may be even more unhealthy foods for someone than a processed meat.
- Extra-large portions. Most salad bars, in an effort to make customers feel like they’re getting value for their dollar have extra large plates available or offer multiple trips to the salad bar. This means someone trying to be healthy may actually overeat as a result.
- Add-on items such as bread, breadsticks and crackers. All the starches, carbohydrates and calories you expect from breads can counteract all the health benefits of even a healthy salad combination.
Granted, a salad can be a truly healthy and filling alternative to common fare such as hamburgers, pasta and other meal options. However, when trying to find ways to improve the flavor and fulfillment qualities of a salad, many people “dress out” a salad with items that take away the healthy factor completely. Even though they’re putting forth the effort to try to develop a healthy lifestyle, making salads into unhealthy foods isn’t the way to do it.
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