Salads are a great go-to in order to lose weight, a cup of the leafy green is up to about 10 calories and if you choose the right variety of ingredients to add into your salad you can end up with a vast amount of nutrients, vitamins and minerals, something your body will be very grateful for.  However not all salads are healthy, there are a lot of ingredients that can get added into salads that will just increase your calorie and fat count exponentially to the point where you’re better off ordering a burger with fries.

Most people assume that because it’s a salad it’s “healthy” however, you have to be more wary of what is actually in your salad, this mostly happens when you’re eating out where you don’t really see what is actually going into your salad. An ingredient that you may think it’s delicious and because it’s in a salad it must mean it’s “healthy” could actually be ruining your whole diet and may be the reason you are not seeing results. Here are some ingredients that look “innocent” at first glance but are actually fattening bombs.

“Fat Free” Salad Dressings

If you’re a consumer of  “fat free” products, then it might be time to move on. The majority of “fat free” products are loaded with processed sugars, these fake and chemical sugars will do nothing for you nutritionally and the salad dressing that you thought was helping you is actually doing the opposite. These dressings may make you crave sweets, slow your metabolism and have a negative impact on your health thanks to its sugar contents.

Alternative: Forget the “Fat Free (and even “low fat” dressing) and go for a more natural and healthier dressing made with extra virgin olive oil instead or even better make your own, that way you see exactly what is going into your body

Dried Fruit

You might think that putting dried fruit on top of your salad is a sweet and healthy treat to add in however, during the dehydration process the fruits lose a lot of their nutritional value, leaving only the sugar behind. Many store bought brands contain processed sugars and sweeteners, two things of which you don’t need and will only ruin your diet

Alternative: If you’re craving for a bit of sweet just go for the natural version, add some fresh fruit in your salad, fruits like blueberries apples and grapes can give your salad a sweet element while providing you with some healthy nutrients

Salted (or Roasted) Nuts

Similar concept to the one of dried fruits, at first glance it seems like a delicious and healthy way to add crunch and some saltiness to your salad. However the salt that salted nuts are covered in is not healthy and has high contents of sodium and if you’re trying to lose weight you know how bad sodium can be. Roasted nuts are equally as bad since most of the time they’re roasted in cheap unhealthy oils and depending on the roasting process much of the nutritional value of nuts is lost in the process.

Alternative: Nuts are a great addition to salads since they contain lots of fatty acids and other beneficial nutrients, simply make sure the nuts you’re added are unsalted, raw or dry roasted. 

Fried (or Glazed) Proteins

Protein is a very important ingredient in any diet and if you’re mainly eating salads as meals an addition of protein would go a long way. However topping your salad with fried chicken or fried shrimp defeats the whole purpose of a salad since what you’re striving for is something healthy. If you’re eating out these foods tend to be cooked in cheap oils that are often high in trans fats and calories but, even if you fry it yourself the protein loses much of its nutritional value in the frying process. An equally tempting alternative are glazed proteins such as salmon and chicken but, these glazes add unnecessary sugars and calories to your diet which is counter productive if you’re trying to lose weight

Alternative: Whether you’re cooking it or eating out get your protein baked or grilled without any sauces since these tend to have sugars in them. This will get you the nutrients your body needs without sacrificing the progress on your diet.

 Balsamic Vinegar

It is true that balsamic vinegar is healthy and it’s filled with an array of health benefits ranging from antioxidants, blood sugar control and even bone health. However the reality is that when you order at a restaurant or pick out “balsamic vinegar” from your supermarket shelf you may not actually be getting balsamic vinegar. Balsamic vinegar is not cheap and the process of making is a lengthy one, making balsamic vinegar very expensive. That’s why the “balsamic vinegar” you think you are getting is actually wine vinegar with coloring added sugars and other chemicals.

Alternative: Check the label of the bottle to see what’s actually in there and if it’s not true balsamic you’re better off not getting it.  Go for an olive oil or an avocado dressing instead.

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