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Not All Salads are Healthy - Here's Why

Not All Salads are Healthy - Here's Why

A bowl of salad is good, right? Actually, not all the time. It all depends on what goes into the bowl. Read on to learn more about what makes an unhealthy salad.

We may think that when we are ordering take-out or dining in, salads are a safe pick on the menu. But many health experts agree: some salads can be quite unhealthy and are actually so calorie-laden that they can lead to weight gain

What is an unhealthy salad?

When a salad is just supposed to be a bowl of several leafy, vivid greens tossed with other colorful vegetables like carrots, purple onions, dark red tomatoes, and red and green bell peppers, it is a perfect picture of good health.

There are actual salads with no vegetables in sight, just a boatload of meat, cheese, and oil-rich dressing. Many salad creations start out with good intentions, a nice selection of leafy greens and mixed vegetables. Then they muck it up with crispy noodles, unhealthy but delicious fried chicken strips, loads of cheese, and ever-so-crispy bacon.

And in the Philippines, a ‘salad’ can sometimes include cubes of gelatin in the mix topped with a spoonful (or two) of mayonnaise.

unhealthy salad

Some salads are worse than a burger

People have added so many things to a salad that in some instances, the salad can actually have more calories than a cheeseburger.

The actual problem lies when the salads are so full of fat already. And it’s not the good kind at that.

When having a salad, lessen the fatty proteins like crispy chicken strips, bacon or better yet, steer clear of anything fried in your salad. If you must have protein, pick the grilled meat over the fried ones.

Also, lessen the calorie monsters like cheese, fried noodles, tortillas, onion rings, and oil-rich croutons.

Now for the dressing, use it sparingly. You can have a nice mix at first, but it can quickly become an unhealthy salad simply because of the dressing of choice that adds little to no nutritional value.

Creamy dressings have about one hundred calories per spoonful so it’s best to watch how much you add to your salad bowl. There are lighter dressings you can choose such as vinaigrettes. A change of salad dressing goes a long way.

Mixed Green Salad vs Potato Salad vs Side Salad vs Fruit Salad

Always be mindful when choosing which salad to consume. You cannot go wrong with a mixed green salad. Especially if you also choose a vinaigrette dressing.

A fruit salad can also be a nice choice, but take care not to overload it with a sugar-rich and creamy dressing.

Portioning is important especially in creamy or starchy salads like the pasta salad, or potato salad – more so if it is drizzled with delicious, creamy mayonnaise and coleslaw.

What to watch out for in a salad? Be mindful of deli meats, candied fruits and nuts, croutons, anything fried, and ranch or any other creamy dressings.

It’s best to include nutrient-rice vegetables, such as spinach, Brussels sprouts, carrots, tomatoes, almonds, quinoa, boiled eggs, and fresh fruit. As for dressings, a touch of olive oil and vinegar is a safe bet.

Key Takeaways

Salads supply the body with fiber. However, it is clear not all salads are healthy.

It is ok to indulge once in a while with creamy dressings and fried toppings, that is clearly up to you.

Just do not overdo it if you are concerned with your daily calorie intake and weight management.

When choosing or preparing a salad, remember that every ingredient counts.

Learn more healthy eating tips and recipe ideas here.


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Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


8 ways to make a salad super healthy  https://health.clevelandclinic.org/8-ways-to-make-a-super-healthy-salad-infographic/ Accessed August 31, 2021

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Written by Honey Buenaventura Updated Aug 31, 2021
Fact Checked by Bianchi Mendoza, R.N.