+ How Healthy is Your Salad?

See which unhealthy ingredients may sneak into your salad

6 Seriously Bad For You Salads

Salads should be healthy-eating no-brainers, but all too often, ordering a plate of mesclun at a restaurant results in a plateful of lettuce drowning in creamy dressings, full-fat cheeses, and high-calorie croutons. Here are six sneaky salad abominations and their skinny (yet still satisfying) counterparts

1. Chicken Caesar Salad

This menu staple is known for its ultra-heavy dressing, hefty serving of cheese, and signature crunchy croutons. Dig into this salad and you could down 750 calories, 50 g of fat, and more sodium than a bag of potato chips.

Ridiculously Healthy: This version has all the familiar flavors of a classic Caesar salad, complete with juicy chicken breasts and a tangy, creamy dressing, but amounts to a fraction of the fat and calories

INGREDIENTS

Serves: 4 Prep: 15min Cook: 0min Total: 15min

1/4 cup canola oil mayonnaise

3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon anchovy paste

1/2 clove garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon worcestershire sauce

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

6 cups torn romaine lettuce

2 cups cubed cooked boneless skinless chicken breast

24 fat-free croutons

DIRECTIONS

  1. Combine the mayonnaise, Parmesan, lemon juice, anchovy paste, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, and pepper in a bowl. Mix well.
  2. Combine the lettuce, chicken, and croutons in a separate bowl. Pour in the mayonnaise mixture and toss well to coat. Divide among 4 bowls and serve.

NUTRITIONAL FACTS PER SERVING

CALORIES 278.3 CAL
FAT 14.8 G
SATURATED FAT 1.9 G
SODIUM 382.7 MG
CARBOHYDRATES 8.6 G
TOTAL SUGARS 2.1 G
DIETARY FIBER 1.5 G
PROTEIN 25.2 G

2. Shrimp Salad

A shrimp and spinach leaf salad sounds healthy enough, but some versions can be a calorie bomb in disguise. If the 1,010 calories and 69 g of fat don’t scare you off, the 2,650 mg of sodium sure will.

Ridiculously Healthy: Our take on this summer seafood salad is low in fat, high in fiber, and a great source of vitamin A, folate, and potassium.

Grilled Shrimp And Corn Salad

FROM:  PREVENTION’S HEALTH GUARANTEED COOKBOOK

This vibrant low-fat summer salad is a good source of fiber, vitamin A, folate, and potassium.

INGREDIENTS

Serves: 4 Prep: 25min Cook: 14min Total: 44min

Dressing:

1/2 ripe avocado, pitted and peeled

3 tablespoons lime juice

1 cup 1% low-fat buttermilk

1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

1 teaspoon honey

Ground black pepper

SALAD:

1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

Salt and ground black pepper

3 ears corn, husks and silks removed

2 plum tomatoes, chopped

1/2 cup seeded and chopped English cucumbers

1/3 cup chopped red onions

4 cups mixed torn greens

DIRECTIONS

  1. To make the dressing: In a food processor or blender, puree the avocado and limejuice. Add the buttermilk, basil, honey, and pepper. Process until smooth.
  2. To make the salad: Coat a grill rack or broiler pan with no-stick spray. Preheat the grill or broiler.
  3. Season the shrimp with the salt and pepper and thread onto metal skewers, leaving about 1/4″ between the pieces. Cook 4″ from the heat for 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until opaque and cooked through. Remove from the skewers and transfer to a large bowl.
  4. Cook the corn in a large pot of boiling water for 3 minutes. Remove from the water and place on the grill or under the broiler for 5 minutes, turning every minute, until the corn is speckled with golden brown spots. Set aside for 5 minutes to cool. Slice the kernels off the cobs and add to the bowl with the shrimp. Stir in the tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions. Toss with the dressing.
  5. Serve on a bed of the greens.

Recipe Tips

To get more juice out of citrus fruits, roll them on a countertop before juicing. Apply gentle pressure with the palm of your hand and roll the fruit forward and backward. Another trick is to pierce the fruit with a fork and warm in a microwave on high power for 30 seconds.

NUTRITIONAL FACTS PER SERVING

CALORIES 279 CAL
FAT 8 G
SATURATED FAT 1.2 G
SODIUM 287 MG
CARBOHYDRATES 24.8 G
TOTAL SUGARS 10.4 G
DIETARY FIBER 5 G
PROTEIN 30 G

3. Southwestern Chicken Salad

FROM:  EAT UP SLIM DOWN ANNUAL RECIPES 2007

Some Santa-Fe–style salads are serious healthy-eating pitfalls. Not only does one restaurant version have more than half of your daily calories, it contains more than your daily recommended sodium intake and 93 g of fat in just one serving.

Ridiculously Healthy: Our Southwestern salad is filling and flavorful, not to mention low in fat. It’s chock-full of fresh produce and proteins like chili-spiced chicken, black beans, and fresh corn, all for less than 300 calories.

A filling southwestern-style salad of chili-spiced chicken, black beans, and corn. Get full on protein, fiber, and flavor.

Photo: Mitch Mandel

INGREDIENTS

Serves: 4 Prep: 10min Cook: 8min Total: 18min

Dressing

1/4 cup light ranch dressing

1/4 cup mild green salsa

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Salad

1 tablespoon chili powder

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 pound thin chicken breast slices or chicken tenders

1 lime, quartered

6 cups shredded romaine lettuce

1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained

1/2 cup corn kernels

1 medium tomato, chopped

1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion

DIRECTIONS

 To make the dressing: In a small bowl, mix the ranch dressing, salsa, and cilantro until blended. Cover and refrigerate.

NUTRITIONAL FACTS PER SERVING

CALORIES 294.6 CAL
FAT 5.7 G
SATURATED FAT 0.4 G
SODIUM 787.6 MG
CARBOHYDRATES 28.7 G
TOTAL SUGARS 4.3 G
DIETARY FIBER 9.9 G
PROTEIN 34.2 G

4. Steak Salad

Thanks to piles of red meat, mountains of blue cheese crumbles, and crunchy fried onions, a steak salad can really derail your diet. If you’re not choosy, you could be consuming 850 calories and 64 g of fat per plateful.


 Ridiculously Healthy: Not all steak salads put your diet at risk. This serving of lean beef atop a bed of leafy greens is not only a powerhouse of protein, it’s rich in iron too.

Flank Steak Chopped Steakhouse Salad

FROM:  FLAT BELLY DIET! FOR MEN

INGREDIENTS

Serves: 4 Prep: 15min Cook: 12min Total: 27min

1 pound lean flank steak, trimmed

3/8 teaspoon salt

3/8 teaspoon black pepper

2 romaine lettuce hearts, chopped, about 6 cups

4 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped

1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and chopped

1 large carrot, chopped

1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped

1/3 cup reduced-fat crumbled blue cheese

1/4 cup canola oil mayonnaise

3 tablespoons light sour cream

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon worcestershire sauce

DIRECTIONS

  1. Prepare the grill for medium-high heat.
  2. Sprinkle the flank steak with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Place the steak on a grill rack coated with cooking spray. Grill 5 to 6 minutes per side, or until desired doneness. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest 10 minutes before thinly slicing.
  3. Meanwhile, combine the romaine, tomatoes, cucumber, carrot, and onion in a large bowl. Combine the blue cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of pepper in a separate bowl. Add the cheese mixture to the romaine mixture and toss well to coat. Divide among 4 serving bowls and top each with 1/4 of the sliced steak.

NUTRITIONAL FACTS PER SERVING

CALORIES 372 CAL
FAT 24.2 G
SATURATED FAT 6.6 G
SODIUM 503 MG
CARBOHYDRATES 9.8 G
TOTAL SUGARS 5.3 G
DIETARY FIBER 2.6 G
PROTEIN 27.9 G

5. Asian Chicken Salad

Beware of Asian chicken salads made with fried chicken, crunchy noodles, and sugary mandarin orange slices. Restaurant varieties can have more fat than six glazed donuts.

Ridiculously Healthy: This Asian chicken salad features a lightened-up sweet and spicy dressing, made with a splash of orange juice and low-sodium soy sauce.

Grilled Chicken Salad with Orange Sesame Dressing

FROM:  THE RODALE WHOLE FOODS COOKBOOK

If you like pungent greens (arugula, mizuna), replace half of the shredded romaine with them.

INGREDIENTS

Serves: 4 Prep: 10min Cook: 14min Total: 44min

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts

2 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 pound asparagus, cut on the diagonal into 2-inch pieces

1/4 cup orange juice

2 tablespoons minced cilantro

1 tablespoon dark sesame oil

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

2 teaspoons dijon mustard

1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

6 cups shredded romaine lettuce

2 red bell peppers, cut into thin strips

1 tablespoon sesame seeds (optional)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the broiler or prepare the grill. Combine the chicken, soy sauce, and garlic in a ziplock bag. Push out all the air, seal, and marinate in the refrigerator for 20 minutes. Remove the chicken from the bag, and broil or grill 6 inches from the heat, turning once, for 8 to 10 minutes, until the chicken is just cooked through. Set the chicken aside to cool slightly.
    1. Meanwhile, in a vegetable steamer, cook the asparagus until crisp-tender, about 6 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.
    2. In a small bowl, whisk together the orange juice, cilantro, sesame oil, vinegar, mustard, and hot sauce.
    3. Place the lettuce in a medium bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons of the dressing.
    4. Tear the chicken into shreds and place in a large bowl. Add the asparagus, bell peppers, and remaining dressing, tossing to coat. To serve, make a bed of the lettuce mixture and top with the chicken mixture. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, if using.

FACTS PER SERVING

CALORIES 226.3 CAL
FAT 5.4 G
SATURATED FAT 1 G
SODIUM 419.7 MG
CARBOHYDRATES 14.1 G
TOTAL SUGARS 7 G
DIETARY FIBER 5.1 G
PROTEIN 30.8 G

6. Cobb Salad

This chopped chef’s salad can come in supersized portions with heavy servings of bacon, hard-boiled eggs, and blue cheese dressing.

Ridiculously Healthy: This take on a classic Cobb salad uses low-fat turkey breasts as well as fresh slices of veggie-superstar avocado. Plus, this meal has less than 300 calories.

Turkey Avocado Cobb Salad

FROM:  PREVENTION

INGREDIENTS

Serves: 4 Prep: 8min Cook: 7min Total: 15min

1 lb turkey breast cutlets

1 tbsp olive oil

1/4 tsp salt

2 tbsp cider vinegar

1 tsp dijon mustard

8 C baby spinach leaves

4 slices cooked reduced sodium turkey bacon, crumbled

1/2 ripe avocado, cut into 1/2″ cubes

4 cherry tomatoes, halved

1 oz blue cheese, crumbled

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat grill pan on medium high heat 2 minutes. Brush turkey with 1 teaspoon of the oil and sprinkle with half of the salt. Grill turkey 4 minutes, flip, and continue cooking until centers are opaque and juices run clear, about 3 minutes longer. Cut into chunks.
  2. To prepare dressing, combine vinegar, mustard, 1 tablespoon of water, and remaining 2 teaspoons oil and 1/8 teaspoon salt in glass jar. Shake well.
  3. In large bowl, toss spinach with 2 tablespoons of the dressing. Arrange turkey, bacon, avocado, tomatoes, and cheese over spinach. Drizzle remaining dressing over salad and season with black pepper to taste.

NUTRITIONAL FACTS PER SERVING

CALORIES 288 CAL
FAT 13.4 G
SATURATED FAT 3.2 G
SODIUM 472 MG
CARBOHYDRATES 9.8 G
TOTAL SUGARS 0.8 G
DIETARY FIBER 5 G
PROTEIN 33.7 G

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