When you think of a salad, you usually think of plenty of green leafy vegetables, dietary fibre, low in fat… generally a healthy light meal, right? Unfortunately not all salads are created equal and some may house more calories than a burger. Here’s why some salads aren’t healthy, and how to pick out which salads are better for you than others.
Calorie-laden culprits (what to watch out for!)
Croutons, tortilla chips, crispy noodles, cheese, and fried, crumbed or fatty meats. These are all things that can add calories, fat and salt to your otherwise healthy salad. Most green salads are relatively good for you, however, your choice of dressings and sauces (and how big the sachet/serving size is) can make or break your meal when it comes to whether or not it’s healthy.
For example, balsamic, vinaigrette or Italian dressings which are available at most restaurants are usually lower in calories and will generally add only around 5-30 calories in a single sachet serve. However, creamy or oily dressings and sauces such as McDonald’s Zesty Portuguese (249 calories) or Sweet Sesame (227 calories), and Pita Pit’s USA Mayo (175 calories) may up the energy levels of your simple salad quite a bit.
Salads: Eating out
If you’re making your own salad at home and can limit the above ingredients; you’re more in control of what goes into it which means DIY is obviously the better option, but what happens if you’re eating out? It can be difficult to see at a glance which salads are better for you than others.
Here’s a comparison of how some restaurant salads stack up (we’ve done these per serving size – don’t forget that if it’s not mentioned, these figures don’t include any dressings!):
|Restaurant||Salad name||Calories||Fat (g)||Sodium (mg)|
|Burger King||Tendercrisp salad||262||23.5||699|
|Burger King||Tendergrill salad||167||3.3||781|
|McDonald’s||Warm grilled chicken salad||176||2.9||334|
|McDonald’s||Crispy noodle crispy chicken salad||361||15.6||900|
|Nandos||Grilled chicken salad with dressing||157||3.7||345|
|Pita Pit||Steak salad||178||10.4||981|
|Pita Pit||Tuna salad||112||0||220|
|Subway||Roast beef salad||113||2.6||384|
|Subway||Sweet onion chicken teriyaki salad||158||2.9||541|
|Tank Juice Bar||Chicken caesar salad||184||12.3||382|
|Tank Juice Bar||Tuna salad||65||2.2||244|
|Wendy’s||Mandarin chicken salad||180||3.0||978|
Please note: All above figures have been taken from the information available on the restaurants’ websites which are periodically updated as serving sizes/ingredients are modified. We encourage you to visit their websites and take a look at the nutritional information for yourself.
Image / FreeDigitalPhotos.net – Apolonia