One of the biggest pitfalls people fall into when starting their health journey is assuming that a particular food is the same across the board. Salad is salad, right?
I used to eat salad a ton because I was very concerned about gaining weight. If I went out to eat, there was a good chance I’d be ordering a salad. But it never crossed my mind that a salad might not always be the best option for me from a calorie standpoint. In my mind, salad was salad.
I’d eat a giant salad with caesar dressing, croutons, and cheese, and assume I was doing myself a favor. In reality, I was easily consuming 1000+ calories in a bowl.
Salad is great, don’t get me wrong. But I’m willing to bet that I’m not alone in the thinking that ordering a salad automatically meant choosing a great option.
The two salads in this graphic are quite similar. However, it’s clear that they are VERY nutritionally different.
These salads are from two chain restaurants that have their nutrition information available online. But that’s not always going to be the case. So, how do you know if your salad is going to be calorically dense?
That’s why you need to learn the basics of nutrition- if you see a salad packed with almonds and cheese, you’ll be able to identify that it is likely higher in fat, and thus higher in calories as well.
One thing I will suggest is to always, always, always get the dressing on the side. The 1,280 calorie salad from Applebee’s gets over 600 of those calories from dressing alone! Get it on the side and use it to dip your salad (or your fork) into- even if you cut your dressing use in half, that’s 300 calories you’re saving!