You can call it another chapter in the unhealthy “health food” saga, where a seemingly good for you and harmless diet food like salad can be turned upside down by either a fast food giant or by a restaurant who aims to please our insatiable appetite for value based large portions.
These favorite popular salads that are found at fast food/restaurant chains, diners and delis have either more fat, saturated fat, calories or sodium than a typical fast-food burger. To help you compare, the values for this burger are 550 calories, 29 grams fat (10 grams saturated) and 1000 mg of sodium in a 7.6 oz serving.
“SOUTHWEST” SALADS – AKA SANTA FE OR JUST FIESTA
Call it what you like and hit the trail but, essentially this salad is a deconstructed taco without the limiting benefit of a contained “shell” – full of calorie laden over the top ingredients like cheese, sour cream, guacamole & tortilla strips.
* Can run between 800-1200+ calories – worst offender I found had 92g fat, 24g saturated fat & an alarmingly high 3500 mg sodium
ASIAN GRILLED CHICKEN SALAD
Take a cultural sidestep and check out this deceptively damaging salad which is built with healthier-type ingredients like grilled chicken, almonds or cashews, fruits and a vinaigrette dressing – but also crispy fried noodles & sodium rich dressing…fat is as high as the southwest salad!
* Highest values had over 1200 cal, high sodium (over 2000mg) & over 12g saturated fat (79g fat)
Go for the infamous 1930′s Hollywood Salad that is experiencing regained popularity now and a top seller in many restaurants. It seems healthy with grilled chicken but couple that to bacon, egg, cheese & dressing and you can see why it will top a fast food burger easily.
* You are looking at a whopping 1200+ calories, 25g of fat & 10-12g saturated fat
CRISPY CHICKEN CAESAR
Basically fried chicken served up salad style…and if that’s not enough calories & fat to sink your teeth into be sure to use the creamy, cheesy Caesar dressing (200 calories) that will send this salad to the moon.
* Can easily reach 1000 calories (remember that’s 2 Burgers) and 12 g sat fat
A favorite of low-carb dieters – but more calories than a stack of pancakes! Loaded with protein & the saturated fat that is married to it. Take a simple veggie base (100-200 cal) & pile on about 8oz worth of turkey, ham, roast beef, cheese, egg…then dose it in a ranch or thousand island dressing…
* Easily can get over 1000 cal (again, 2 Burgers)
The basic ingredients are healthy choices – but watch out for the amount of add ons like dolmas (grape leaves), olives, feta & olive oil dressing where you can add hundreds of extra calories and sodium.
* Typical salad will have about 800 cal & 1000+ mg of sodium – if you use the oily vinaigrette you’ll pour on another 200-300 cal!
Next time your in the market for a meal gather your resources and use them to help you make a choice that’s right for you.
The best advice on what to do comes from learning how to plan what to eat before you get hungry.
Visit Tips & Tools to see how easy it can be to let salads work for you the way nature intended!