Salads have a reputation for being the “healthy option” for a meal, or what dieters should pick when eating out at a restaurant. Although tossing together fresh, nutritious vegetables in a tasty arrangement can be an extremely healthy option, the healthiness of the meal can slide down a slippery slope if taken advantage of by its tempting counterparts and savory accessories: the toppings. Huffington Post lists a rundown of the best and worst ingredients to put on your salad — dieters, beware!
We’ll start with the best options. The key here is crunchy veggies. Not only do they have a high nutrition density that helps you feel full, but the act of chewing them helps you enjoy the meal more. Dr. Caroline Cederquist, the creator of bistroMD and the author of The MD Factor Diet, gives a list of the best vegetables for your salad:
>> Want to try something green, crunchy and packed with zesty flavor? Click here to get our Green Powerhouse Salad recipe.
Salads also provide a great opportunity to incorporate lean proteins into your diet; they contain amino acids that you need in order to build and maintain muscles. As for lean protein in salad, aim for:
- Chicken breast
- White fish
- Egg whites
- For vegetarians, tofu is also a tasty protein option!
Now let’s talk about the worst ingredients. Salad bars can be tempting because of the loaded array of creamy, buttery and savory toppings all conveniently lined up and ready to be piled on top of your salad. If you're a fan of tossing in nuts, cheese or dried fruits to your salad, add with caution — those tend to add in loads of calories. As long as you make sure to keep the veggies and lean protein the center of attention in your salad, you’re good. Here are a list of toppings that are packed with sodium and sugar to be highly cautious of:
- Tortilla chips
- Fried chicken
- Dried fruit
- Starchy vegetables
Dressings are dangerous as well because they can easily tack on high amounts of sodium, unhealthy fats and unwanted calories to your salad. Click here to see 14 quick and easy homemade salad recipes that you can feel good about eating!
Not a fan of lettuce but trying to include more salads in your diet? Leafless salads exist, and they’re delicious! Click here to see 15 leafless salads you gotta try out!