"Salads seem to be a healthy choice, but are they really healthy?"
Resolutions to lose weight, choose a healthy lifestyle, etc. are pretty much common for majority
every new year's eve, birthday's or days which mark some personal significance! However, such
resolutions made with zeal
are also broken with equal vigour either by negligence or laziness.
Yes, all of us try to follow or
at least think of eating healthy and for that, incorporating a bowl of fresh leafy vegetables or
fruits as a part of our regular meal is usually recommended. Call it an inherent age-old Indian
classic or a contemporary fusion of an after-effect of globalisation, but incorporating salads
in our diet has always been advocated as being essential to make our diet complete.
Earlier and even now, in our Indian kitchen, salads include a wide variety of components like
a bountiful of fresh, dark and leafy vegetables like cucumber, spinach, tomatoes, chillis,
coriander leaves, onions, carrots, etc.; and fruits like watermelon, apples, grapes, orange, figs,
etc. along with a spoon of sesame seeds or olive oil with a little mustard powder, legumes and
grains, few drops of lemon juice or a dash of coarsely crushed pepper.
Now a days, many take aways and restaurant salads which are a mixture of hot or cold ingredients,
come with a whole set of dressings, mixed appetisers and sauces like mayonnaise, cream and olive
oil, blue or parmesan cheese, glazed nuts, fresh chicken, etc. But are these seemingly mouth-watering
salads, appealing to the eyes and palate as healthy as they are portrayed? The answer is appalling,
as most of the dressings that are used add tons of extra calories to your otherwise healthy, low-calorie
Unhealthy dressings and add-ons used in salads
- Creamy Dressings
These scrumptious dressings (for example: ranch, blue cheese, parmesan cheese, etc.) probably
are the worst for they, with a very little nutritional value, are loaded with fats and have
high sodium levels which definitely don't contribute to weight reduction, but instead cause
accumulation of extra fat, resulting in obesity. Vinaigrettes, a mixture of extra-virgin olive
oil and vinegar, can be a healthy option instead which suppresses the craving for creamy dressings.
3-4 daily servings of low-fat and organic dairy products can foster body's fat-burning potential,
yet piling up of cheese on salads is not healthy as they contribute to obesity and rust the body's
ability to burn fat. Feta cheese, low-fat and low-calorie substituents are a good choice for toppings,
along with string cheese, added in pieces that can imbibe portion control.
Kettle-cooked nuts glazed with sugar are not great toppings to be sprinkled on any salad for they
contain high amount of calories. As an alternative, light topping of dry
nuts are healthy, as they save on calories. These can include sliced organic almonds,
chopped pistachios, walnuts and pecans.
Nature's candy or dried cranberries, though being fruits which are fatfree and have low calories,
are not good, for they are packed with more sugar than you think. If they are hard to resist,
limiting their quantity in the salad to 10 pieces or replacement with strawberries and blueberries
Refined carbohydrates are not recommendable as good choice of toppings for they have high
amount of calories and also high sodium levels depending on how they're prepared. Using
whole wheat bread isn't a bad alternative to accompany a salad as it keeps the calories
consumed in check.
Also, crunchy tortilla chips, shells or anything fried can transform a healthy salad into
a total caloric splurge.
Think before you choose!
Everyone has a preconceived notion that consuming salads is healthy; Yes it is, but only if
one is careful enough to choose healthy options, devoid of high calorie toppings and junk
add-on's disguised as 'healthy' and 'weightreducing'. Life is hard, food should be easy,
hence before you order or leap on to a take-away of delicious looking and appetising salads
appealing to your palate, check if it's not a disguised calorie bomb, missing key nutrients!