Remember the last time you ordered a salad while your friends chowed down on burgers and fries? In that moment, you may have silently gloated a bit or given yourself an extra pat on the back for being so health conscious. Leafy greens are low in calories and high in fiber and nutrients, making them a dieter’s dream. Throw on some in-season veggies and you’ve created a meal that is full of antioxidants, vitamin C, and beta-carotene.
The problem is, most salads don’t stop there. That seemingly guilt-free veggie meal at a restaurant rarely ends with produce. Even if you’re concocting the salad at home or choosing from the salad bar, there are an array of calorie-laden toppings that can sabotage your attempt to create a guilt-free meal.
The salad dressing can make or break a salad. While you may be tempted to go the creamy route, a 2-tablespoon serving of ranch dressing has 140 calories, 130 coming from fat. Blue cheese, Parmesan, and chipotle dressings have similar nutritional profiles. Keep your salad light and healthy by choosing a vinaigrette or making your own dressing by mixing olive oil and balsamic vinegar.