“I ate a healthy lunch. I had a salad!” Sound familiar?
When you hear the word “salad” you associate it with being healthy, so you opt to have that at the restaurant. That can be true but it can also be so very wrong. You wouldn’t want your efforts of swapping a cheeseburger for a salad to go to waste, now would you?
Tips to Avoid the Traps
We’ve all experienced the difficulty of dining out when trying to be healthy. To say it’s tricky would be an understatement. Consider a few of these simple modifications and turn your salad from an unhealthy trap, to a healthy treat!
It’s time to get a little picky— it may take you longer to order but these substitutions will save your ‘healthy’ dining experience:
- Next time you order a salad, ask the waiter to hold the croutons, bacon, flavored nuts and heavy dressing. Croutons add a crunch—not to mention lots of calories—but have absolutely no positive nutritional value.
- Did you know three strips of bacon contain more than 4,000mg of sodium? Probably smart to leave those out. Another smart meat-modification is to have the waiter substitute that fried chicken for grilled chicken. Fried or processed meats may add protein but there are healthier options, like grilled chicken, which avoid the high sodium content, preservatives and bad fats.
- As far as nuts go, it is safe to say that from now on if you see the words “honey roasted” or “candied” listed in the description, you should think “sugar”. And we all know there is nothing healthy about covering your salad in sugar.
- Salad dressing is the easiest way to destroy the health benefits of your salad. It’s a small change, but makes a world of difference. Choose options like lemon juice, flax oil and vinegar. Avoid choices such as ranch, Caesar, etc.
- While covering your salad in cheese may taste good, it’s not the smartest decision when trying to be healthy.
- You may be thinking, “I already knew all of that.” But…did you know iceberg lettuce is almost worthless when it comes to nutrition? It may be crunchy, but it is also watery and contains a very small amount of nutrients. It’s best to go for that spinach or romaine salad.
I warned you it might take a little longer to order, but don’t let your fear of sounding too picky interfere with your goal to eat healthy. These simple order requests are asked for more than you would think, so the waiter won’t be that surprised and you will leave the restaurant knowing you actually achieved your goal of eating healthy while eating out!
If you aren’t eating out, use these omissions and substitutions as a guide! To add variety to my salads I turn to the Fat Flush blog for various salad recipes. They keep me from getting bored with salad and they are oh-so-yummy! Some of my favorite recipes are Fiery Grilled Shrimp Dijon Salad, Tomato and Green Bean Salad, and Classic Grilled Chicken Salad.