People who are trying to eat healthier often choose salad as a meal option because they think it will help them to lose or maintain a healthy weight. But many times the salad that they make at home or that they order in a restaurant is full of fat and high in calories. While the ingredients listed are popular ingredients in many salads, they add very little nutritional value to your meal. Instead, they fill your salad bowl full of needless fat grams and useless calories. Exactly how many calories are in a salad? Numbers vary greatly. A basic iceberg lettuce salad with tomatoes, cucumber, carrots, red pepper, and low or zero-calorie dressing (such as lemon juice or vinegar) has about 125 calories. But many salads that you see on restaurant menus have more. If you want to order a lower-calorie, healthy salad, avoid these unhealthy ingredients.
The bacon loaded on top of your favorite salad might add a whopping 400 calories and 30 grams of fat to the total nutrition. Of course, the number will depend on how much bacon is added. But bacon on any salad is bound to boost the fat and calorie count significantly. So are bacon-style toppings any better? Not really. Many processed bacon (flavored) bits aren’t really made out of meat, so they provide no nutritional benefit. In fact, some contain a mixture of trans fat, salt and, believe it or not, sugar! So skip the salty, fatty toppings and add crunch and flavor with nutritious, lower-calorie savory vegetables like radishes or peppers.
Croutons aren’t the worst offenders when it comes to diet-disasters, but they add calories from processed grains without providing any nutritional benefit. And many times the croutons are fried so they add unnecessary fat to your otherwise healthy meal. If you’re making your own salad, be wary of crouton brands that look healthy or low in calories. If you add the number of croutons that most people add, you’ll probably add 100 or more calories in bread and oil. If you absolutely love to have a bit of crunch on your salad, try adding a tablespoon or two of a healthy, whole grain cereal like Grape-Nuts.