Salads are a fantastic and versatile culinary creation for those looking to eat nutritious and healthy meals. However, amazingly, there are some extremely easy ways that a salad can turn from healthy fit fuel to belly-bloating traps that will hinders your health and weight loss goals. I know, it’s a hard pill to swallow but before ordering or making that next salad for lunch, make sure you don’t fall into these 5 traps:
- Using Iceberg Lettuce: The biggest problem with this lettuce choice is that they are simply… well… nothingness. They have nearly no real nutritional value, making them empty additives to your salad. Try using spinach, kale, mixed greens, or dandelion greens your base layer.
- Dried Fruit: Dried fruit is a sneaky “junk food”. Whether you put some dried cranberries on your salad as decoration, or want to throw in raisins for an extra bit of sweetness, remember that dried fruit is usually packed with refined sugars and preservatives, not to mention dried fruits can lose about 80% of their nutritional value in the process.
- Too Much Fat: One of the biggest pitfalls with salad creation is overloading them with fat, good or bad. Salads are naturally pretty light in terms of a meal, so restaurants tend to load up on seeds, nuts, cheese, avocado and oils to punch up the sheer weight of the salad to make you feel full. Now, on their own and in proportion, nuts, oils, and avocado are great, but when you pack loads of them into one salad, you can get into a fat overload.
- Dressing: Dressings are probably the most common and easiest way to de-value a salad. If you look at the nutritional information for any of the most popular dressings like blue cheese, ranch, thousand island or Italian dressing, they are packed with fat and a lot of saturates. Then, there are the low-cal or no-cal options. Some of these can be just as bad for you by adding loads of sugars or chemicals to create the sensation of taste. Your best bet is choosing an organic or natural dressing, or even more simply, some balsamic vinegar and oil.
- Lack of Protein: Too many salads lack protein protein. Even a spattering of nuts on your salad will only make up a small amount. When making a salad you can’t forget to add some serious protein! Try some shredded chicken, tuna, salmon or even a boiled egg.
As I said to start, salads can be a great tool in any meal plan arsenal to keep you on the fit path, just make sure your salads are made of the right stuff!