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Why some salads aren’t healthy

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saladWhen you think of a salad, you usually think of plenty of green leafy vegetables, dietary fibre, low in fat… generally a healthy light meal, right? Unfortunately not all salads are created equal and some may house more calories than a burger. Here’s why some salads aren’t healthy, and how to pick out which salads are better for you than others.

Calorie-laden culprits (what to watch out for!)

Croutons, tortilla chips, crispy noodles, cheese, and fried, crumbed or fatty meats. These are all things that can add calories, fat and salt to your otherwise healthy salad. Most green salads are relatively good for you, however, your choice of dressings and sauces (and how big the sachet/serving size is) can make or break your meal when it comes to whether or not it’s healthy.

For example, balsamic, vinaigrette or Italian dressings which are available at most restaurants are usually lower in calories and will generally add only around 5-30 calories in a single sachet serve. However, creamy or oily dressings and sauces such as McDonald’s Zesty Portuguese (249 calories) or Sweet Sesame (227 calories), and Pita Pit’s USA Mayo (175 calories) may up the energy levels of your simple salad quite a bit.

Salads: Eating out

If you’re making your own salad at home and can limit the above ingredients;  you’re more in control of what goes into it which means DIY is obviously the better option, but what happens if you’re eating out? It can be difficult to see at a glance which salads are better for you than others.

Here’s a comparison of how some restaurant salads stack up (we’ve done these per serving size – don’t forget that if it’s not mentioned, these figures don’t include any dressings!):

Restaurant Salad name Calories Fat (g) Sodium (mg)
Burger King  Tendercrisp salad  262  23.5  699
Burger King  Tendergrill salad  167  3.3  781
McDonald’s  Warm grilled chicken salad  176  2.9  334
McDonald’s  Crispy noodle crispy chicken salad  361  15.6  900
Nandos  Grilled chicken salad with dressing  157  3.7  345
Pita Pit  Steak salad  178  10.4  981
Pita Pit  Tuna salad  112  0  220
Subway  Roast beef salad  113  2.6  384
Subway  Sweet onion chicken teriyaki salad  158  2.9  541
Tank Juice Bar  Chicken caesar salad  184 12.3  382
Tank Juice Bar  Tuna salad  65  2.2  244
Wendy’s  Mandarin chicken salad  180  3.0  978
Wendy’s  Taco salad  424  25.0  1128

Please note: All above figures have been taken from the information available on the restaurants’ websites which are periodically updated as serving sizes/ingredients are modified. We encourage you to visit their websites and take a look at the nutritional information for yourself.

Image / FreeDigitalPhotos.net – Apolonia

Article brought to you by NZ Real Health

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