Whenever I see someone opting for a salad over the main course I develop a sense of respect for them. They are doing what I am incapable of even thinking about – giving up all those delicious entrees on the menu and going in for a bowl of greens just so they don’t add the extra inch to their waist. However, are you absolutely sure that the salad you are having is working really hard for you? The average salad is full of ingredients that rate poorly on the nutrition meter and fill you up with a whole lot of empty calories. My suggestion? Get rid of these 8 most useless things to put into your salad and substitute them with healthier options instead.
What salad doesn’t have onions? They taste great, lend a lovely crunch to your bite but, sadly, don’t do too much for your body. However, replace your average onion with scallions or spring onions and add a solid punch of vitamin A, C, K, and iron to your meal.
Think about it – when fresh corn has so little to offer nutrition-wise what possible good can the canned variety do for you apart from giving you a “heart-attack-inducing” dose of sodium? If you crave the sweetness of corn, switch to raw grated beets which make for an excellent source of folic acid and fiber. You could also try tossing in grape halves or dried cranberries to up your intake of anti-oxidants and vitamin C.
A favorite with almost every salad-eater on this planet, cucumber is perhaps the biggest let down for me, scoring pretty high on the most useless things to put into your salad. Neither rich in fiber or vitamins, the only saving grace for cucumber is that it makes for a refreshingly cool bite on a hot summer day. However, for a more nutritious crunch throw in raw zucchini into the salad. It’s an excellent source of vitamin B6, vitamin C, fiber, and omega-3s.
4. Iceberg Lettuce
Hate to burst your bubble but iceberg lettuce is a pretty poor source of essential nutrients. It’s best to opt for the greener varieties of lettuce or switch to raw spinach which contains vitamin C, potassium and up to 20% of the recommended folate.
5. Chow Mein Noodles
A handful of these crispy noodles in a salad ups the taste-factor several notches but is one of the most useless things to put into your salad. However, just half a cup of chow mein noodles packs in over 100 calories, not to mention 5 gm of fat. In addition, it lacks the minerals and vitamins that could make it an otherwise profitable gamble. If the savory taste is hard to relinquish, try sesame seeds. An ounce of these toasted seeds are high in iron, calcium, and fiber, and thankfully low in harmful cholesterol.
As yummy as they might be, croutons are again, one of the most useless things to put into your salad. If your aim is to have a light bite in terms of calories, instead of croutons, use chopped walnuts or perhaps slivered almonds as a topping. Healthy as well as nutritious…just what a salad is meant to be.
7. Green Beans
Yet another of those innocent imposters, green beans are one of the most useless things to put into your salad simply because they are hardly the superfood most people make them out to be. And to compound the felony, they are pretty high in calories as well. In place of beans add broccoli or peas to the salad. They are a better source of proteins and fiber.
8. Real or Imitation Bacon
What can I say except that bacon or bacon bits have enough sodium and fat in them to render the entire purpose of eating salads redundant? Substitute with pumpkin seeds and enjoy the goodness of essential minerals like zinc. Alternatively, you could also use sunflower seeds which are an excellent source of folic acid.
Feeling pretty sorry for yourself, huh? Yeah, I felt the same way to when I first learned of the most useless things to put into your salad. BUT it’s only a matter of making just a little more effort and choosing your ingredients with deliberation, isn’t it? And you won’t mind doing that for your overall health and general well being, not to mention a trim figure, will you?
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