Is Your Salad Really Healthy?
You probably know that you should eat five servings of fruits and vegetables every day, and a salad seems like the perfect device to get them into your system. However, you may be doing more harm than good if you add some of the following items in it.
Bacon/Ham: These ingredients are high in fat, cholesterol and sodium. For a healthy, ideal weight person, they might be all right, but if you have or are at risk for high blood pressure or heart disease, skip them entirely. If this is a main course dish, you may want to substitute avocado, which has heart healthy monounsaturated fat.
Cheese: Even low fat cheese contains a great deal of fat. According to Nutritiondata.com, an ounce of low fat Monterey Jack cheese has eighty-eight calories, fifty-four of which are from saturated fat. Low fat, reduced sodium cottage cheese may be a better option.
Croutons: There’s good news and bad news with croutons. The good news is plain, unseasoned varieties of this baked bread ingredient are fine. However, the seasoned version contains too much sodium for those on a restricted sodium diet.
Boiled Eggs: While healthy people can enjoy up to four eggs a week, those on a restricted fat/cholesterol diet should skip the boiled egg.
Greens: The type of greens used makes a big difference in how healthy your salad is. Iceberg lettuce contains a lot of sugar and doesn’t have as many nutrients found in romaine, red leaf lettuce or even dandelion greens. After finding this out, we almost never purchase iceberg.
Potato and Pasta Salads: These are very high in carbohydrates. Potato salad has the added attraction of fat and cholesterol, due to the use of mayo. If you choose a whole grain pasta and the right dressing, the pasta salad can be a good choice.
Salad Dressing: If you read the nutrition label on your favorite bottle of salad dressing, you’ll see that even the fat free dressings have extraordinarily high amounts of sodium. To get around this, try making your dressings at home.
A good quality balsamic vinegar mixed with some high quality olive oil makes an extremely tasty dressing for any salad. This way, you can also adjust it to your taste standards, adding more vinegar or more oil as needed.
Choosing a salad for your lunch or dinner is a good idea, but you do have to be careful about what you put in it. It doesn’t take much for an otherwise heart healthy meal to become a danger.