Archive for the tag - salad

The Worst Fast Food Salad…

One of the big advantages to cooking at home is that you know exactly what goes into your food. There’s no guesswork or clever marketing involved. And the same is true for our salads.

Though grabbing a salad sounds healthy, the reality is that many fast food salads are actually less healthy than the obviously unhealthy alternatives – like a Big Mac. With 550 calories and 30 grams of fat, there’s no question that the Big Mac is a gut-busting and unhealthy choice. But even the Big Mac doesn’t have anything on these salads.

Drum roll please… Some of the worst fast food salads include:

Applebee’s Oriental Chicken Salad

While the name sounds both innocent and slightly offensive (didn’t we stop using the term “Oriental” a long time ago?), this massive calorie bomb of a salad is no laughing matter. With 1,390 calories and 98 grams of total fat, you are not doing your body any favors with this meal choice. This salad contains 15 grams of unhealthy saturated fat. For most people, that’s an entire day’s worth.

Crispy_Chicken_SaladBut wait, things get worse…

IHOP’s Crispy Chicken Salad

As soon as you see the word “crispy,” run the other way! It’s code for fried. With a mind-blowing 1,400 calories, 88 grams of total fat and 26 grams of saturated fat, this is a terrible salad choice.  Bizarrely, with 28 grams of sugar, it has almost as much sugar as a can of coke. Yikes.

And then for the worst salad of them all…

Chili’s Quesadilla Explosion Salad

With 1430 calories, 96 grams of total fat and 28 grams of saturated fat, this salad is truly an explosion of everything your body doesn’t need. It’s about the equivalent of two and half Big Macs. Don’t do it. Just don’t.

The bottom line: Salad isn’t synonymous with healthy. Play it safe and smart by preparing your salad at home. If you must grab a salad on the go, make sure you Google the nutrition information – even if the salad sounds like a healthy choice. Opt for grilled over fried, ask for no cheese and no bacon and select a dressing that isn’t creamy.

How to Make a Healthier Salad: 7 Tips.

salad3Most Americans don’t eat enough vegetables – but a bountiful, delicious bowl of salad is a great way to get your fix!

Beyond unhealthy toppings and artery-clogging dressings, many salads represent a lost opportunity to load up on essential nutrients. So use today’s tips to get the most out of your salad!

  1. Select dark greens. Did you know that dark, leafy greens are healthier than lighter ones? They’re packed with more nutrients and antioxidants. Kale, spinach, watercress, collard greens, arugula and romaine are all wise choices.
  2. Make your own healthier dressing. Many packaged dressings are loaded in unhealthy fats and sodium – especially if they’re creamy. Experiment with your own, heart-healthy dressings. I like to mix a simple dressing of olive oil, vinegar and seasoning. As an alternative, you can top your salad with lemon juice, avocado, salsa or even a Greek yogurt-based dressing.
  3. Top it with microgreens. I’m a huge fan of microgreens. They’re fresh, packed with flavor and several times richer in nutrients than their full grown counterparts. They also make for a beautiful salad topping!
  4. Make your own croutons. The great thing about making your own croutons is that you know exactly what goes into them. And they taste a million times better than the boxed alternatives. It takes only a few seconds to chop up a some stale whole wheat bread, and then toss it all with some olive oil, parsley, garlic and other seasonings. Bake the croutons at 350 degrees for 10 – 15 minutes and you’re good to go.
  5. Add some vegetables. Don’t stop with tomatoes. Add in a rainbow of other vegetables like peppers, beets, carrots, red cabbage, raw broccoli, raw green beans, onions, mushrooms and so on. Get creative. Even if you’re not a fan of vegetables, you may find them much more stomach-able in a salad.
  6. Mix in some beans. Though beans get a bad rap, they’re a healthy and delicious salad addition. Full of fiber, antioxidants and protein, some of my favorites include soybeans, black beans and pinto beans.
  7. Toss in some lean meat. If your salad is the main course, adding some grilled chicken or fish turns your salad into a meal. Avoid meats that are battered or fried. And remember, a serving of meat is about the same size as a deck of cards – so don’t go overboard!

As something of a salad king, I’ve learned that you really can’t go wrong. Don’t be afraid to experiment and get a little wild. It’s really, really hard to ruin a salad. Just don’t add ketchup.

If you have some healthy salad tips, I’d love to hear them! Share them in the comments below.

 

What Are Micro Greens?

This morning, I was reading a salad recipe that called for “micro arugula” as an ingredient. While most of us are familiar with the bitter leafy green that is arugula (sometimes called “rocket” overseas), what is micro arugula? And are micro greens any healthier?

First things first, “micro” is really just a fancy way for saying baby. Micro arugula is arugula that has been picked shortly after germination while still tiny, tender and tasty! Unlike sprouts, which germinate in water, micro greens are grown in a thin layer of actual soil. Beyond arugula, other popular micro greens include kale, beets, radish, spinach, red cabbage and many others. Micro greens are becoming increasingly popular and can be found in any health food store and some mainstream grocery chains.

Micro greens are small but mighty for a number of reasons.

For one, they’re easy to grow and transport. If you have a sunny spot in your home or kitchen, you don’t need a lot of expertise, space or time to grow some basic baby greens. Moreover, because they’re harvested early, you’ll be eating your micros in weeks rather than months. And, because they’re so transportable, many restaurants receive the greens while still in their growing trays. The greens can go from tray to plate to mouth in a matter of minutes; it doesn’t get fresher than that!

What really makes micro greens so special is their nutritional content. A recent (and first of its kind) study published by the University of Maryland found that nearly all of the 25 commercially available micro greens that they examined had nutrient levels 4 – 6x higher than the full-grown plant. For micro green enthusiasts, that’s huge news.

The bottom line: Beyond providing fresh and vivid colors, flavors and textures, micro greens pack a huge nutritional punch. If you haven’t jumped on the micro green bandwagon, I’d definitely recommend giving it a try.

Are you a micro green fan? Which is your favorite? Let me know in the comments below!

The Davey Wavey Salad.

The Davey Wavey Salad

I have a confession to make: Unless they’re deep fried, battered and smothered in cheese, I’m not a huge fan of vegetables. While I love the way veggies nourish my body, I don’t always love the way they taste.

I’ve found that one of the best ways to incorporate more veggies into my diet is through a salad. They’re fast, easy and versatile – just like me! Innuendos aside, salads are a great solution for my fellow lachanophobes (yes, that’s the technical term for people that are afraid of vegetables).

The number of different salad combinations is infinite – but through trial and error, I’ve found a recipe that is reasonably healthy and completely delicious. With the hopes of it inspiring you to eat your veggies, I’ve decided to share it with you.

Here’s what you need:

  • A few cups of dark, leafy greens (darker greens = healthier choice)
  • 1 vine ripened tomato, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 pepper, diced
  • 1/2 avocado, cubed
  • Few slices of red onion
  • 8 Kalamata olives
  • 2 slices of prosciutto, cut
  • Sprinkle of feta cheese
  • Top with unsalted sunflower seeds
  • 1 or 2 tablespoons of olive oil and vinegar dressing

In a large bowl, simply assemble the various ingredients – then top with feta cheese, seeds and dressing. The avocado provides the salad with plenty of moisture, so you really won’t need a lot of dressing. Of course, you can supplement any of the ingredients to suit your taste buds and any seasonal produce. If you’d rather make the salad a meal, scrap the prosciutto and top with a grilled, protein-rich chicken breast.