Easy, simple, variety, veggies, fruits, meat. A salad is a mixture of different foods that we enjoy normally sitting on a bed of lettuce, spinach or perhaps pasta (depending on the type of salad). Many health enthusiast are pro salad and say it is one of the many healthiest foods to eat. I mean if we think about this, it seems true because in most cases people use veggies and fruits on their salad and if they want some protein will add some meat. Nothing wrong with eating a salad, right? It goes well with pasta dishes, lunch, and normally is a better option than eating a sandwich with the same toppings. So, you are wondering why I am making a post about salad, you probably think I want to talk about all the different types of salads and give you recipes, well hate to bust your bubble, I actually want to dive into the actual reasons why people consider salads so healthy. Yes, I did say one reason (veggies and fruits) but in my opinion, I never believed salads were as healthy as people made them out to be because most salads are just carbs (not that carbs are bad) and lack nutrients depending the salad. Not to mention, the amount of dressing people add to their salad can make a difference in the overall salad, I have known two types of people: The ones that will not eat salad unless it is covered in dressing and the ones whom will eat salads without dressing. Very few times have I met someone who is a ‘happy medium’, I mean I don’t blame people for using dressing; hell I use dressing! I have not an oz of crazy in me to eat it without dressing! LOL & that isn’t on my bucket list either, although I commend those who do not use dressing whatsoever. I love salads, but I just don’t take it at face value and say they are all healthy, because in my opinion, this could be proven false.
Many people believe that by ordering a salad, they are eating healthy and in many cases they are probably right because it has minerals and some vitamins (depending on what greens you use) and is low in calories, not to mention the amount of fiber and antioxidants. The problem is most salads START off healthy but after adding an abundance of toppings and dressings, you wind up eating the same amount of calories as a big mac from McDonald’s (especially salads ordered from fast food chains). This does not mean one should stick to the basic stuff: lettuce, cucumbers, and tomatoes with lemon or vinegar but it is wise to choose toppings that offer a hearty nutritionally-balanced meal.
- Adding cheese adds flavor depending on the type of cheese, and most people don’t mind a shredded cheese or parm cheese, but most people don’t often realize the amount of fats cheese has and the calories alone. If you add cheese, keep in mind that a half a cup is usually enough if you are someone watching your diet. Although I am not against having cheese on salads, as long as you know how to properly portion it or keep in mind moderation
- The crispy noodles people add to their salads, they have an Asian based flavor and had some crunch to the salad, the problem once again lies on the fact it holds a lot of sodium and about 5g of fat per serving (doesn’t seem like a lot, but depending on your serving size will add up) . I like crunch in my salad sometimes too, there are other ways to get the crunch that are healthier options for your salad (water chestnuts) just one idea out of many.
- breaded chicken, I am a fan of chicken on my salad, well I am a fan of meat. Not everyone is and that is okay, but if you are one who enjoys having chicken on your salad then this information is specifically for you. We all know that chicken holds a lot of protein and low amounts of fat (normally) depending on how it is cooked, but there is a BIG difference in having breaded chicken and skinless chicken breast. The breaded chicken breast is the same as eating a cheeseburger when you include how much fat is has and the amount of calories per serving. Instead eat baked or skinless chicken breast on your salad, it will cut the calories and the fat down by a lot.
- Adding fruit is a great idea for a salad, but the thing to keep in mind is to choose the fruit wisely. Dried fruit normally has tons of sugar and packed with more calories than a fresh fruit such as an apple. Just something to keep in mind when you order a fruit salad or decide to make your own
- Bacon/Turkey bacon. I will be the first to admit, I love bacon on my salads, I love bacon for breakfast and I love bacon on my hamburgers, wrapped around my chicken. I love bacon. I eat turkey bacon, although I will not deny the fact that if someone offered me a piece of bacon that wasn’t turkey bacon, I would still eat it. I know it it can be rough because bacon taste really good but we need to pay attention to the labels because some turkey bacon has the name nutrition as the full fat pork bacon. If you are looking for a better option than to have bacon on a salad, try having ham cut up in pieces (less calories)
- Olive oil and vinegar may not always be the healthiest option. Yes it probably does a little better than a creamy Italian dressing but many times it ends up being about the same amount or Italian ends up being lighter than your olive oil and vinegar. This doesn’t take away from using it of course, because it is a better choice than your ranch or french dressings. If you are looking for a better option, try a light balsamic vinaigrette. Although I am not against eating any dressing, I think one should have the choice to use which ever they please, but just know you can go from a healthy salad to an unhealthy salad by using too much of one thing.
- Avocados. I made a post previous to this one talking about the amazing avocado that people adore, Many places put a lot of emphasis on eating avocados, and will have a handful in a salad (making it a high calorie salad) because avocados have tons of calories. Continue eating your avocados of course, but a better option sometimes would be a salsa (depending on the type of salad), or the better option would be to eat the avocados in moderation like anything else.
- For the fiber
- health benefits from the fruits and veggies
- to cut calories
- eat it for the better fats