Salads are always at the top of every dieter’s list, but they aren’t always the best choice. Salads can be packed with high-calorie ingredients and topped with even higher-calorie dressing, resulting in a major diet disaster.
Today’s salads look a lot different than the salads I grew up eating. When I was younger, there were only a few popular options – Garden Salad, Caesar Salad, Greek Salad and Cobb Salad. Then, fruit, nuts and other toppings started appearing on salads everywhere.
The original fruit and nut salad, the Waldorf Salad (which can have over 1,500 calories with dressing), originally created in the 1800s at the Waldorf Hotel in New York City, became famous in the nineties after its public appearance in novel The American Psycho.
Now there are million different salads flooding restaurant menus. You can have a taco salad, oriental salad, barbecue salad, fried chicken salad and pretty much anything else you want to throw on top of lettuce. Sadly, too many dieters choose a high-calorie salad over many healthy traditional meals.
For example, Applee’s Grilled Shrimp N’ Spinach Salad is HIGHER in calories (nearly 200 more calories) than the Steak & Fried Shrimp Combo. Who would think a grilled shrimp salad would be nearly 1,000 calories and have twice the fat as fried food? Their Oriental salad has 93gms of FAT! Ouch! The good news is Applebee’s has plenty of other healthy options, including salads, on their menu – you just have to check the calories BEFORE you order!
When you are facing a menu, don’t let the salads fool you. Do your research and choose healthy choices based on calories and not by appearance – and if you make your own, here are a few tips to help you trim down the calories (and your waistline).
7 tips to creating healthy salads:
1. Limit your ingredients. The more ingredients on the plate, the more calories you will consume.
2. Choose only one high-fat topping. Goat cheese, walnuts and avocado are tasty high-calorie toppings but should be limited.
3. Choose only one sweet topping. If you like fruit, don’t overdo it. Craisins, grapes, orange, pear and apples are healthy, but can add up quickly if you aren’t careful.
4. Finely chop or slice your yummy items. Get more yum in each bite by slicing your apples or chopping your walnuts into smaller pieces.
5. Be choosey about your dressing. Some dressings have more calories than an entire salad. Avoid dressings that have a lot of cream or oil in them. You can cut a lot of calories by watching what you pour on your salad.
6. Add water. If you make homemade dressing, cut your oil in half by diluting with water. Dilute thick bottled dressings with water and enjoy all the flavor on every bite while saving calories too.
7. Count calories. If you are dining out, ask for nutritional information or use a calorie counter app to search items. If you are making a salad, add up your ingredients so you keep yourself in check.