Salad may seem an obvious meal choice when you’re watching your weight. But is it really? This AOL survey of some popular restaurant salads may make you think twice about what you order.
Some of the worst offenders include:
|Dairy Queen’s Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad|
|680 calories||48 grams fat|
|Chili’s Southwestern Cobb Salad|
|Pizzeria Uno’s Chicken Waldorf Salad|
|920 calories||62 grams fat|
|Arby’s Santa Fe Salad|
|844 calories||55 grams fat|
Although fast food restaurants have made an effort to offer healthier fares over the past couple of years, prepackaged salads are still not your best option. With the additions of fried tortilla chips, fried chicken and commercial dressings, you can easily end up with a less than ideal meal.
This does NOT mean, however, that a salad is a worse option than a burger and fries, as they implied in this article. It’s mainly a matter of avoiding the unhealthy toppings.
The absolute best thing you can do for yourself and your family is to take control of your meals by preparing them at home. If you want to get or stay healthy, learning to prepare your own food is one of the best prescriptions out there. Exchanging convenience for your health is a very lopsided "bargain."
Remember that if you want to start to Take Control of Your Health, someone in your family or someone that you employ is going to have to spend some time in the kitchen, freshly preparing unprocessed whole foods for you and your family.
If you're thinking that you truly don't have the time to do this, don't miss my past article, Six Easy Ways to Get Better Nutrition Even if You Don't Have the Time.
But, if you do order restaurant salads, keeping these few tips in mind can help you make your meal as healthy as possible:
- Add chicken or egg. A salad is generally a healthy choice for lunch, especially if it’s loaded up with organic greens and fresh vegetables. However, you’ll likely find yourself hungry soon after if you don’t add any protein. (Just stay clear of the deep fried kind!) It really saddens me that nearly all chicken choices for salad are only the breast or white meat. For those of us that are protein types this is not at all satisfying as we would MUCH prefer the chicken thighs or legs, which have far more fat and more purine proteins
The type of protein that’s best for you depends largely on your nutritional type. While carb types will do fine with some white-meat chicken or egg, protein types will want to opt for dark-meat chicken or even some red meat.
If you choose to use egg, an even healthier option is to find a creative way to bring them along separately, and eat them raw in your salad. This is much easier to implement at home.
- Ditch the commercial salad dressing. They’re typically full of trans fat, sugar, and other less-than-ideal ingredients. Don’t ruin a healthy salad with an over-processed dressing -- choose olive oil and vinegar instead.
- Lose the bread. No matter what the meal, you’re better off without the bread. Also watch out for "hidden" bread in breading, toppings, and croutons.
Going back to salads prepared at home for a moment, other benefits of doing this is that, not only can you make sure your produce is both fresh and organically grown, but you also have greater control over the type of vegetables included, as some vegetables are better for you than others, based on your nutritional type.
Little compares to the nutritional value of organic, raw vegetables according to your biochemical composition. In addition to the B-vitamin folic acid, fresh vegetables have numerous other nutrients that will promote health and prevent diseases, especially neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson's. And, the many antioxidants and phytochemicals in vegetables will help keep your mind sharp.
If you are a strong protein type (like me), then you may find you don’t need as many vegetables. Perhaps as little as half a pound to a pound a day would be sufficient for the typical protein-type adult. Your vegetables would also be oriented more toward lower potassium varieties, like spinach, avocados, green beans, asparagus, mushrooms, celery, and cauliflower.
Regular lettuces and typically "wonderful" vegetables like collard greens, kale, and Swiss chard, are far too high in potassium for protein types and will tend to cause biochemical imbalances.
A carb type, on the other hand, may benefit from consuming far more vegetables, and the best varieties would include the collard greens, kale, Swiss chard, and so on, which were not ideal for protein types.
Please note that while I recommend organic vegetables for the most nutritional benefits, if you can’t find or afford them, don’t use this as an excuse to not eat any vegetables. Eating any vegetables, whether they are organic or not, is much better than not eating any vegetables at all.