Avoid Making an Unhealthy Salad

July 12, 2017 | posted in: Fitness Articles - Monthly, Nutrition | by

When you think of healthy food, what is one of the first things that comes to mind? Survey says: 1. Vegetables, 2. Fruit, 3. Salad. Needless to say, a combination of fruit/vegetables makes up a salad. So it’s automatically healthy, RIGHT?! Unfortunately, if you take a look at the standard salad bar, you will see a number for unhealthy and calorie-loaded foods. Here’s a list of 9 things to avoid if you want your salad to stay healthy.


Croutons are made with artificial flavors, colors and preservatives. It may seem more filling to include these crunchy toppings, but they are high in refined carbs and won’t leave you feeling full for long. If you need a little extra “filling” feeling with your salad, try eating a piece of whole wheat bread or a whole wheat roll.

Bacon Bits

Yum, bacon! Well, not really… Bacon bits usually don’t have any real bacon included at all. Instead they are made of artificial flavor, colorings, preservatives, LOTS of salt, and are high in fat. Instead try adding shredded turkey or chicken.

Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Tomatoes are healthy, but not all sun-dried tomatoes are healthy. Usually they are kept in oil, as well as contain sodium and preservatives. Stick to the real tomatoes, unless you’ve sun-dried them yourself 😉

Shredded Cheese

Who doesn’t love cheese?! It’s something that you can include in a salad, but the problem is usually portion control. A finely shredded cheddar cheese may take more helpings to cover your salad, but a cup of cheddar cheese is comparable to the calories and fat in a large serving of fries from McDonald’s. YIKES! A healthy portion of cheese is about the size of your thumb. Since that’s not much, choose a flavorful cheese such as feta or sharp cheddar.

Candied Nuts

Aren’t those candied walnuts amazing? If they’re that good, you can bet they are not healthy 🙁 Unfortunately, candied nuts are full of sodium, sugar, artificial colors and flavors, as well as high in fat (and it’s not all the good kind of fat). What does contain the healthy fats: most nuts that are non-candied. Stick to fresh almonds, walnuts, pecans, etc.

Mayo-Filled Salads

Salads such as potato salad, egg salad, tuna salad, chicken salad have a main ingredient of mayonnaise or sour cream or both. Unfortunately, that makes them full of fat and cholesterol. Stick to the real deal, meaning sweet potato, hard-boiled egg, tuna or grilled chicken with or on your salad.

Salad Dressings

You guessed it, the best tasting salad dressings are the worst for your calorie count. Most salad dressings, especially the creamy ones like ranch and thousand island, are high in fat, calories and sodium. Better options are lower calorie and lower fat dressings, such as balsamic vinaigrette.

Wontons or Tortillas

The same reason you don’t want to eat a bunch of tortilla chips at mexican restaurants, they are deep-fried, high in fat, high in sodium and void of any real nutritional value. If you need a crunch in your salad, choose crunchy vegetables or top with seeds or nuts.

Pasta Salads

Pasta salads come with their own dressings added, which usually means a lot of oil that is high in fat and calories. If there is an option to add beans to your salad, this helps fill you up with healthy protein and complex carbs. Just make sure the beans aren’t soaking in oil!

Healthy, happy living!


Clark, Edwina; 9 Worst Foods at the Salad Bar. Last Accessed 18th July 2012.

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