Salads have become quite popular with most people, especially those that are trying to eat healthy. However, with all the toppings and dressings out there, you need to ask yourself, is your salad healthy? Awareness of the properties of the ingredients you put in your salad is really the key to make it healthy. Be conscious of the following ingredients, as they are mostly a no-no when it comes to nutrition contents:
1. Salad Dressings
Many salad dressing (especially the creamy ones) have high contents of bad fats. Not only that, they also contain many unhealthy ingredients such as MSG, artificial flavorings, lots of sugars and hydrogenated oils, which are considered dangerous trans fat. The biggest problem when using processed salad dressings is that most people use more than one serving, which makes them consume a lot more of the bad fat contents.
We love including croutons to our salads because of the crunch and flavor that they add. However, croutons are made from processed white bread, which equivalents to empty carbohydrates and high calories. They also contain many artificial ingredients such as preservatives, hydrogenated oils and flavorings.
Over 100 calories is what you will consume if you add a 1/4 cup of shredded cheese to your salad. Including cheese in your salad is really that not that bad as long as you choose natural cheeses like parmesan, blue cheese and feta, and you use it sparingly. Avoid using processed cheeses; they are full of artificial flavors, colorings and salt.
4. Bacon Bits, Salami & Ham
We know that bacon bits, salami and ham give our salad that extra flavor. However, flavor is not the only thing you consume when you add these ingredients in your salad. Real bacon bits and processed meats contain harmful preservatives like sodium nitrites along with high doses of bad fats.
5. “Breaded” Meats
Crispy breaded meats are definitely unhealthy ingredients for your salad because they contain a lot of harmful fats. Breaded is just another term for fried, and therefore you should avoid putting any in your salad.
You can always find a healthier alternative for each unhealthy ingredient stated above to make your salad healthy. For that extra crunch you are always looking for in a salad, try adding a couple of tablespoons of raw nuts like almonds, cashews, walnuts and pistachios. They may have high contents of fat, but the fats are the healthy kind.
Prepare your own salad dressings so that unhealthy preservatives and artificial flavorings are avoided. For a simple salad dressing, you can combine some olive oil, garlic and lemon juice. On the other hand, you may find bottled salad dressings from your local health food stores that contain only whole ingredients and less fats and oils. Salads are one of the most nutritious foods you can eat. Just make sure that the ingredients you use are healthy and nutritious too!