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The Components of a Healthy Salad and What to Avoid

We classify food as either healthy or unhealthy and salad has always been known as healthy.  When eating out or grabbing a quick lunch pre-made salads appear to be a healthy option.  Be sure to selective when ordering a salad.  Quite often the nutrtion content of salads end out being approximately the same as a burger alternative.  The goal of the restaurant is to make tasty food that you will order again, so they added on indulgent ingredients like fatty dressings, cheese, and croutons.  In order to make a salad a well rounded meal one usually adds protein, when restaurants do this they usually add crispy chicken which quickly adds calories.

A  2012 study, which found that although fast food menus grew between 1996 and 2010 to include 53 percent more dishes and snacks, the average number of calories in each item hadn’t changed.

“Entree salads, which are increasing in number, can be bad, too. With fried chicken on top and regular dressing, they can have more calories than a burger,” lead researcher Katherine Bauer, an assistant professor in the department of public health at Temple University, told HealthDay at the time of the study’s release.

Salads can be very nutritious depending on how you build yours.  In order to get the most out of your meal there are some few ingredients you should be sure to add, and others to stay away from.  First off get the most out of the base of your salad by choosing a good dark green.  There are many options out there that provide far more nutrients than watery ice berg like kale, spinach and romaine.  One can never have too many veggies, well technically maybe they could but it would be really hard, broccoli, peppers, carrots, peas, cucumbers and many more are great additions.  Raw veggies are great because they are low in calories, high in nutrients and water content.  Since their calories are so low you can pile them on sky high.  Protein is a must not matter the source.  Options vary from lean meat like chicken, hard boiled eggs, beans, or tofu.  Get an extra bonus of omega-3s from tuna or salmon.  Please try to resists the bacon bits.  Healthy fats are also great in salads.  Go for some toasted walnuts, sliced almonds, sunflower seeds or a bit of avocado.  Finally there is the dressing, this is usually what makes or breaks a healthy salad.  Vinaigrette are a great option, or something with an oil base.  In order to have control over how much dressing you add try to order dressing on the side at restaurants so you can keep an eye on how much you use.