The media has made salads the eat-all-and-be-all of any diet plan on earth. Every magazine we pick up has at least one article on salads and how we should eat more of them.

Yes, it is true! Lettuce leaves have very low calorie content and the fresh veggies found in salads are a great way to get fiber, minerals and vitamins into our bodies. However all this talk on salads has created every restaurant out there to sell salads as meals and we take it for granted that they are “healthy.”

Think again! Just to give you an example, take a look below for a comparison between restaurant salads and fast food meals:

Salad Calories
Cheesecake Factory Caesar Salad

1,699

Applebee’s Stacked Tostada Salad

1,409

Chilli’s Southwestern Cobb Salad

1,117

Macaroni Grill Chicken Caesar Salad

675

 

Fast Food Calories
Burger King Whopper

678

McDonalds Big Mac with Cheese

563

Taco Bell Seven Layer Burrito

530

Wendy’s Double Cheeseburger

458

 

Surprised? So was I! Oh, and don’t get me started of the fat content. The results would be similar though. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not preaching for a fast food diet! No meal should have that many calories to begin with! What I am saying is that blindly eating a salad is NOT the way to eat a healthy and moderate calorie meal and you should pay attention to what the salad is made of.

The easiest way to cut the calories is by ditching the dressing. Dressings are our body’s worst enemy. Low fat, low carbs, whatever! The point is that if you are trying to make salads a healthy option, dressings should not be present. If you feel they don’t taste the same, I mean let’s be serious a Caesar salad with no dressing is just chicken on a bed of lettuce, ask your server to give you the dressing on the side. Add just one spoon to keep calories in check.

A healthier option is to ditch the ready-made dressings and ask for olive oil and vinegar and dress up your salad with just a spoon of oil and plenty of balsamic. No chemicals plus less calories guaranteed. My personal favorite is adding lemon juice. Squeeze half a lemon on any salad and you will get a refreshing zesty taste that can beat any dressing out there.

Which is your favorite salad and how do you keep it healthy? Leave us your comments below.