You get a pat on the back for choosing to have a salad, but take two points off for getting breaded chicken over grilled. Of course, it doesn’t work that way, but we can help make a good choice even better. The reasoning? Make the salad work harder for you by not filling it with a lot of pointless, empty-calorie ingredients. That means foregoing the croutons and chow mein noodles but getting the same salty, crunchy deliciousness in a healthier way, like toasted sesame seeds, which serve up calcium and iron.
Holding the bacon bits is one step in the right direction, but not every vegetable was created equal. On the food chain of command, even fresh, healthy foods have an edge over other fresh, healthy foods — call them “superfoods.” For instance, change up your greens by switching Romaine lettuce for spinach, which does triple duty as a great source of folic acid, vitamin C, and potassium plus the more you vary your salad ingredients, the more well-rounded your diet will be.
No matter if salads are made at home or at the deli, indulgent toppings defeat the purpose of eating healthy. Ordering the iceberg wedge with bleu cheese and bacon, while a classic, can have as many calories as a small burger, so if the intention was a light lunch, you've missed the mark. To get a healthy meal that works overtime, 10 pointless salad fillers are paired with a healthier substitution that serves the same purpose but also makes the meal more balanced.