Monday, April 18, 2011

When a salad isn't a salad!

Your going out to eat, your doing your best to be healthy and you open up the menu and see the crispy honey mustard salad and think "Oh that sounds good, I'll get that."  Your salad arrives and a couple bites into it you find a fly in your salad!  This is what happened to one of my friends last week and I'm here to tell you that it was the BEST thing that could have happened to her!  It blows my mind the things that restaurants put on their menu's and call "salads".  A bunch of us got a good laugh at my friends expense but it piqued my interest; I had to go the offending restaurants website and see if they nutrition facts were posted for this salad.  Whaddyaknow?  They have a nice .pdf of everything on their menu which is better than what a lot of restaurants have.  Upon further review, this salad (I use that word loosely!) has 1120 Calories, 72 grams of fat, 65 grams of carbs and 15 grams of protein.  There is also well over 2000mg of Sodium!  How on earth you have a SALAD with 10% more fat than carbohydrates and 400% more fat than protein is beyond me!
I'm not going to tell you to never eat out, but be careful!  There are all sorts of traps like this on restaurant menus.  You could get out a Foreman grill and season and grill some chicken at home, buy a head of lettuce, a tomato, onion and cucumber and make a salad with 1/3 the calories of this one, for roughly the same price.  But if you have to go out to eat and get a salad here are a few tips:

  • Always grilled, Never crispy  I know the crispy stuff tastes good but you might as well go have KFC
  • Fish, chicken, steak in that order.  If your getting a salad with a protein added onto it, those are your best options however, keep in mind that even with grilled fish or shrimp most restaurants are going to add major amounts of sodium during cooking.
  • Dressing on the side  Put the dressing on yourself and don't drown it!  One of my clients gave me the great tip to simply dip your fork in your dressing then into your salad for a forkful.  You get enough dressing for taste without overloading on calories
  • Beware the bread!  I'm not an anti carb guy but beware of restaurants that offer the "unlimited breadsticks" if your watching your calories (Don't ask me how I know this!)
Follow these few simple tips and you can still eat out, be social and as I told my friend "Wouldn't you rather have a 500 calorie salad and 700 extra calories of Bud light? ;-)"

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