Not all salads are created equal. Many people have an understanding that salads are always healthy food options. But once that salad is tossed in fat-laden dressing, sprinkled with croutons, bacon bits, cheese, and candied nuts – it turns into a calorie bomb.
Here are tasty replacements to keep your salad palatable and healthy:
Salad Dressing – Trade in the creamy, calorically heavy salad dressings for savory vinaigrettes. Making a dressing at home is a great way to control what you are putting in your body. For healthier alternatives, try combining lemon juice, olive oil, and a dash of garlic pepper or combining balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, and olive oil. Other great alternative dressings are fresh tomato salsa or hummus.
Croutons – Croutons are basically cubes of toasted white bread with little to no nutritional value. Half of a cup can be loaded with up to 100 calories. If you are looking to add a crunch in your salad, try opting for edamame, baked garlic chips (dusted in coconut oil), or nutritionally packed quinoa.
Bacon Bits – Many people enjoy the crunch factor that bacon bits add to salads. But like croutons, they don’t add any nutritional value. In fact, they are saturated with fat and sodium. Opt for slivered raw almonds, pistachios, walnuts, or crunchy veggies such as pea pods, jicama, and celery.
Candied Nuts – Sweet flavors definitely liven up a salad. However, candied nuts are usually coated in sugar and loaded with unnecessary calories. Instead, toss in a handful of cranberries, grapes, mandarin oranges, or apple slices to add a healthy dose of natural sweetness to any salad.
Cheese – The creamy milky texture of cheese is delightful to just about everyone but it packs in saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium and calories. Most restaurants will allow you to sub the cheese for a delicious alternative, avocado. It delivers a creamy texture with good fats, no cholesterol and no sodium.