It's easy to get trapped into thinking that if you're eating a salad, it must be healthy. While salads can be part of a healthy diet, they can also be no healthier than a fast-food cheeseburger if you aren't careful about what you put on it.
Here are some ingredients to be to moderate or even avoid as well as healthy alternatives to make sure your salad isn't just a leafier version of a Big Mac.
It's not that all cheese is bad. Three to four daily servings of low-fat dairy products can give a boost to your body's fat-burning potential.
The problem with cheese comes when you pile it on something, like your salad. The good news is that some cheeses are more nutritious than others, and you can add them to your salad in healthy ways. Feta cheese is one good alternative because of its lower fat, as is string cheese. Take one piece of string cheese and chop it into your salad.
Salad dressing, like cheese, should never overpower your salad. Don't douse your greens with it. Dressing is a surefire way to take your salad from healthy to fatty.
For example, one tablespoon of creamy ranch is on average 100 calories. Even a tablespoon of your favorite vinaigrette is about 80 calories. Always order your dressing on the side when you're dining out and, whenever possible, choose light, low-calorie or low-fat options. Better yet? Make your own so you know exactly what is in your dressing.
Croutons add that extra "crunch" to your salad and taste so good. The problem is, they add refined carbohydrates. Popular brands are about 30 calories for just six pieces. They can also have high sodium levels. If you're craving something bread-like, then have a piece of whole wheat on the side, and don't force yourself to finish it.
While nuts provide healthy fats and can be a tasty and healthy addition to your salad, never use ones that are glazed with sugar. You can often find glazed walnuts and pecans sprinkled on salads in restaurants. They might not be the worst ingredient for you, but they're not all that healthy, either. Try raw nuts or ones seasoned with a tad of sea salt.
5. Fried Foods
It's so tempting to add fried shrimp or chicken to a salad to give it that "something extra." Yet, they're packed with unnecessary calories and loaded with sodium. Anything fried food falls into this category and can turn a healthy salad into an unhealthy one. Add grilled items instead, or healthier protein options like tuna or egg whites.
You don't have to eat like a rabbit to enjoy a salad. They can be full of nutritious, healthy and filling ingredients. Calling on the experience and know-how of a professional trainer such as Ralph Roberts can have a positive impact on your fitness and wellness program. Contact Ralph today to sign up for personal training.