Famous last words: “All I had was a salad.” Aw, man if I had a buck for every time I heard that one! “Salad” has practically come to mean anything with lettuce – or mayonnaise. I’ve been working with some clients who have been struggling to lose weight. When they tell me they had a salad for lunch, an image of a salad that I would eat comes to mind. And then that little birdie speaks to me “Ask what was on the salad!”… “What was on the salad?” I ask. Then, the problem is clear; they’re loading their salads up with salad killers (ingredients that make a salad unhealthy and even fattening).
Here is some calorie information about some popular salads. Remember, if you are looking to lose weight, you might be looking at a daily calorie count of 1200 – 1500 calories, sometimes less. Now, there are LOTS of variables in determining how many calories one needs: age, gender, activity level – to name a few. So don’t go thinking this is gospel; it’s information to help you to make educated decisions. Are you ready? Ok, buckle up!
Keep in mind that a Double Cheeseburger has 440 calories
McDonalds: Premium Southwest Salad with Crispy Chicken – 450 calories
Burger King: Tendercrisp Garden Salad – 410 calories
Wendy’s: BLT Cobb Salad – 450 calories, Baja Salad – 540 calories, Spicy Chicken Caesar Salad – 570 calories
Here is a list of Salad Killers:
• Fried Chicken – bad fats and salt
• Cold Cuts – bad fats, salt, and cancer-causing nitrites/nitrates
• Dressing – high in calories, salt, chemicals, and sometimes even high-fructose corn syrup see: http://caloriecount.about.com/calories-salad-dressings-ic0401
• Cheese – high in calories and salt, difficult to digest
• “Craisins” – there are 25 grams of added sugar per serving
• Bacon bits (real) – high in bad fats, salt, and nitrites/nitrates
• Bacon bits (fake) – bad fats, salt, artificial colors and flavors
• Croutons – empty calories, often have artificial flavors
• Canned fruit – found in many salad bars, soaking in corn syrup
• Tortilla Strips or Wonton Strips – empty calories, bad fats, salt, artificial colors
• Pickles & Green Olives or Kalamata Olives – high in salt, make you retain water
• Any salad that has more animal products than plant products!
So what’s good to put on your salad? Here’s a list of items that make some killer salads! (The good kind)
• Spinach & mixed greens (avoid iceberg lettuce)
• Beans – high in fiber and protein
• Hard-Boiled Egg – not more than one total
• Slivered Almonds
• Red Cabbage
• Black Olives – just a few
• Fresh Peppers (not from a jar)
• Garlic &/or Onions
• Cauliflower &/or Broccoli
• Avocado – great source of healthy fats!
• Carrots – not too many (high in sugar)
• Oil & Vinegar – drizzle only (Olive oil has about 100 calories per tablespoon)
• Celery – helps you to lose water weight from bloating
• Salmon – 4 ounces or less
• Eat Nature’s Rainbow – choose a wide variety of colored veggies!
Cheers to you for making the effort to eat healthy! Be sure to build a killer salad and keep the salad killers off your plate. Not only will you be avoiding a bunch of empty calories, unnecessary salt, and artificial ingredients, but you will be giving your body the nutrients it needs to build a healthier, leaner you! Bon appétit!
Want to learn more about healthy eating for life? Consider enrolling in my “Eat Like a Horse” Holistic Nutrition Subscription program. 26 Weeks of information to help you to make healthy food choices for the rest of your life! Find details at www.EatLikeaHorse.netThe information on this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prescribe for any disease or condition. Consult your preferred healthcare provider when making health choices.
Patti, one of the things that gets me concerned when buying produce from the grocery store (besides how lousy it usually tastes) is the shelf life. I don’t understand how celery, as an example, can last for a month or more from the super market when fresh picked is wilting in a couple of days without a water source (you can put the ends in water like you might with asparagus to extend the life for a few days, but certainly not a month). Do you know if these products are treated with chemicals to make them last longer and if so, what they might be (and how bad they are for you)?
Great question Nanette! Some produce is sprayed with chemicals or gasses to preserve their shelf-life. Other products are genetically modified for a longer shelf life. I have seen many grocery stores that have mini-irrigation systems to keep the produce from wilting. Sometimes the bags they put it in act to prevent evaporation too. The reality is that it’s hard to know what is treated or GMO. My advice would be to grow your own, join a CSA (community supported agriculture), or to shop the farmer’s markets. http://www.localharvest,org is a great resource for finding fresh, local produce. You can also speak with the produce manager at your local market and ask questions about the produce there.
That being said, I believe it is still healthier to eat produce from any grocery store than it is to eat Hamburger Helper and the like.
Thanks for your comment!
Wow – the Applebees Oriental Chicken Salad has 1380 Calories and the dressing is Chicken Fat based! That’s like putting GRAVY on your salad! Plus that dressing is pretty sweet so I’d guess there’s a lot of sugar added to that chicken fat!
Patti, What about 3 or 4 oz of grilled chicken on a salad for protein?