Popular Salads Can Be Nutritional Losers

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.


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


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


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!


NutriSource Holiday Tips

By Nicolette M. Pace MS,RD,CDE,CDN,CFCS

Three Holiday Eating  & Lifestyle Don’ts

1) Dump traditions that ultimately take you further and further away from a healthy lifestyle and mess up your health goals.When you give in to overindulging you will only beat yourself up in the New Year. Stay focused!

Recognize that this is a great time to ring in new healthy habits. This can set the course for a great year of health and well being.

2) Ditch social occasions that are not really where you want to be or with whom you do not care to be with.Recognize that celebrating the holiday with food should be limited. It may involve as little as one day in the month or as much one weekend day in the month.

Spending the entire season going to parties that demand you eat will  cause a 10 pound holiday weight gain.  Do not underestimate environmental influences like peer pressure. This can lead you to compromise your diet.

3) Deny disappointment by not setting yourself up for failure with unrealistic expectations of how the holidays should be. Comparing yourself to advertisements may make you feel shortchanged , miserable and lead you to back off on healthy habits. Be aware of marketing techniques that demand you live a standard that is unattainable, costly and leads to belly busting excesses.

3 Holiday Eating & Lifestyle Do’s

1) Plan perfectly by taking proactive measures to decide what you will eat, prepare or purchase.If you anticipate properly you can constructively orient your schedule to guard against last minute impulse foods and help to control hunger and appetite.

Stay in control instead of chasing your lifestyle and running into obstacles where you are vulnerable and give in to less careful food choices.

2) Pick and choose carefully where you will commit your time and energy.Be selective in your attendance at holiday parties especially if you do not care for the event or if it revolves around heavy eating or drinking or the need for extreme willpower.

Schedule “me time” to reflect on your year. Set the the course for healthy habits like planning to resolve lifestyle issues that have caused stress, getting into consistent physical activity or enjoying time with your spouse, children and family. Look for downtime to take it easy.

Play up taste and couple it to non-food related “play-time” to satisfy your desire for a holiday “must have” and couple it to a non food related calorie burning burning activity that is also enjoyable.Seasonal activities can be the very essence of ramping up your quality of life.

You may take a walking tour of holiday lights in your area, schedule a massage, take a mediation or yoga class, visit a park for an outdoor hike, plan a healthy picnic complete with a fire pit, go to a museum, play games…the list is endless.