Deceptive salads

By: Health Local Staff Sep 05, 2012
  Article
unhealthy salads

Salads that trump burgers in the fat and calorie department.

You are on a diet. You dutifully forgo the flame-grilled cheddar burger at your local eatery and make the responsible choice – or so you think. However, some seemingly innocent salads are not what they seem. Instead of healthy alternatives, they are in fact calorie, sodium and fat-laden. Here are some of the worst offenders:

The Crispy Chicken Caesar
The salad dressing alone can contain over 12 grams of fat – including dangerous saturated fat. The chicken on this deceptive salad is deep fried, which adds to the overall fat content significantly. Some versions of this salad have over 1000 calories! Take a pass on this salad and opt for one with grilled chicken and minimal or even no dressing. Balsamic vinegar and oil work well, as does the juice of half a lemon.

Chicken Salad
Chicken salad is tarnishing the good name of the salad. It contains very little salad-like ingredients – usually only a few measly pieces of iceberg lettuce. It is instead loaded with mayonnaise and thus fat. Eating your standard deli-sized dish of chicken salad can give you more calories than a McDonald’s Big Mac.

The Buffalo Chicken Salad
The buffalo chicken salad looks and sounds delicious. It has fried buffalo chicken atop a bleu cheese-drenched salad. Unfortunately, some versions of this salad have over triple your daily recommended intake of sodium (which is 1500mg for adults, according to Health Canada). The dressing and deep fried chicken adds loads of saturated fat. This salad can easily give you half of your daily calorie intake.

Cobb Salad
A dieter’s nemesis, the cobb salad contains all sorts of fat-laden ingredients such as avocado, fried chicken, bacon, egg and dressing. This salad can contain a whopping 1300 calories and well over 10 grams of fat.

The Taco Salad
The taco salad, while certainly not the worst offender, is definitely not a healthy option. The taco shell is deep fried and thus loaded with fat. The salad itself is usually little more than some sparse lettuce with loads of beef, cheese and sour cream dumped on it. This salad can run you up about 10 grams of pure saturated fat and nearly your daily intake of sodium.

Steak Salad
Surely you know that steak is a diet-wrecker. The combination of meat and dressing on this salad boast a calorie count that exceeds 1200. There are also over 60 grams of fat and nearly double your recommended daily sodium intake.

The Chef’s Salad
Although low-carb, the chef’s salad is certainly not low in much else. With a sprinkling of sodium-laden deli meats, this is not a heart-healthy meal! Some chef salads have bacon too, which is loaded with fat. When you top this salad off with dressing, it is easily worse than many of your local fast food burgers.

As a general rule, salad should be full of, well…salad-like ingredients. The main ingredients should be vegetables. If you want to add some flavour to your salad, berries add a nice kick. If you really love your salad dressings, stick to a low calorie and low fat version. Forgo the fast food salads that have deep fried meats and pre-mixed dressings. Opt for grilled chicken and dressing on the side.

The Health Local Staff is a team of writers and experts dedicated to bringing you the latest health, nutrition and lifestyle information at www.healthlocal.ca.