Stop Salad Sabotage: Avoid Adding Extra Calories to Your Greens

We break down the calorie count on your so-called "healthy" salad

Credit: Wellness Matters

If you’re adding extra toppings to your salad, chances are it’s not so healthy anymore

Sure your salad may seem nutritious, but it could be packing more calories than a fully loaded hamburger

A fresh garden salad that includes lots of veggies makes for a delicious, nutritious, low-calorie meal. However, even the healthiest salad combo can be sabotaged by high-fat, high-calorie dressings and/or toppings.

In fact, some restaurant salads have been found to contain more fat and more calories than a fully loaded hamburger.

Leading Salad Saboteurs 

  • Croutons: 1 serving of McDonald’s croutons – 50 calories
Tortilla chips: 1 chip – 13 calories

  • Caesar dressing: 3 Tbsp. (45 mL) – 233 calories

  • Real bacon bits
: 1 Tbsp. (15 mL) – 25 calories

  • Parmesan cheese: 
1 Tbsp. (15 mL) – 21 calories
Seeds : 1 Tbsp. (15 mL)  – 57 calories

  • Guacamole : 1 Tbsp. (15 mL)  – 90 calories
Breaded chicken: 
Three strips – 270 calories

  • Tuna salad:
1/2 cup (125 mL) – 192 calories

How to Enjoy a Truly Healthy Salad

For a truly healthy salad avoid creamy dressings. Instead, choose low-calorie or citrus-based dressings, a squeeze of fresh lemon, flavoured vinegars or salsa. Also, keep the dressing on the side, and dip your fork into it before each bite rather than pouring it over the salad. Most importantly, limit all extras.

For protein, choose grilled chicken slices, fresh shrimp or plain tuna rather than prepared chicken or tuna salad.

Originally published in Wellness Matters, Canada Wide Media’s quarterly newsletter on health and wellness.