Salads are always a great idea if you wish to live the healthy way. They are especially popular with people who want to shed some weight. This is because they are packed with fiber and greens that will keep you feeling full for longer, reducing any urges to eat throughout the day.
However, certain salads are unlikely to keep you healthy or even help you lose weight because they contain unhealthy toppings. They could actually be unhealthier than most items you will find on a restaurant menu.
Toppings to avoid in salads
Creamy dressings: Avoid creamy dressings (ex. Caesar) because they contain excess quanitities of preservatives, fats and sugars.
Pasta: This is not an ideal topping because it may contain white flour, which can cause your blood sugar to shoot up. If you must add a grain topping, opt for grains that contain a substantial amount of protein and fiber.
Fried or breaded foods: Avoid throwing in fried foods such as French fries because they tend to add a substantial amount of calories.
Bacon: Obviously, it is significantly high in fat. Just two slices of bacon contain about seven grams of fat.
Top five unhealthiest salads found in chain restaurants
1. Perkins Honey Mustard Chicken Crunch Salad
This salad does not contain any fiber and has more sugar than the recommended daily intake (about 28g of sugar). Most of the sugar comes from the honey and breaded chicken tenderloins.
2. Buffalo Wild Wings Honey BBQ Bacon Ranch Chicken Salad
This one is filled with fat and sugar, as it comes with bacon toppings, honey BBQ chicken and garlic toast. Once you are done with this plate, you will have consumed a total of 40 grams of sugar.
3. Cheesecake Factory Grilled Chicken Tostada Salad
This is arguably one of the unhealthiest salads out there. A packed grilled chicken salad contains about 15 grams of saturated fat and almost 1,200 calories.
4. Subway Chicken and Bacon Ranch Melt Salad
This salad lacks some of the daily nutrients the body requires. It has less than the required amount of sodium and more importantly contains about 38 grams of fat.
5. Candied nuts
This salad contains nuts that have literally been coated in sugar. The sugar content will only serve to add some calories. Eating sugar-coated nuts can lead to heart diseases and even Type 2 diabetes.
Top 5 Healthy Salad Toppings
1. Nuts and seeds
They range from chia to flax to pumpkin seeds. Chia and flax seeds contain omega-3 nutrients, while pumpkin seeds are rich in magnesium and zinc.
2. Plant-based proteins
They include legumes such as beans and chickpeas. They are a rich source of energy.
These provide much-needed protein nutrients. Moreover, adding an egg to your salad has been shown to boost your body’s ability to take in nutrients that help fight inflammation.
4. Greek Yoghurt-Based Dressings
They are a better alternative to creamy dressings that are filled with calories. They also contain proteins and boost gut health.
To get the best results with your salads, ensure that the ingredients are balanced. Most importantly, do not go overboard on the toppings, preferably using 4-5 add-ins. They should be as diverse as possible in terms of their nutrient content and flavors.