You are at a restaurant and have chosen to eat healthily. Do you choose Caesar, Greek, blue cheese wedge, Cobb, niçoise, or taco salad? What dressing is your best choice? How about vinaigrette, French, Italian, or honey Dijon? There are so many decisions it can seem mind-boggling.
You decided to go the healthiest, so you choose the Caesar salad.
Here’s the nutrition for Cheesecake Factory© Caesar salad with chicken:
1500 calories are more calories than many people require for the whole day!
When ordering at a restaurant, the devil is in the details. This is arguably more true for salads than any other food. Add-ons often contain fat-building carbs or high-calorie fats.
Let’s look at some of the items best avoided due to their very high calorie low nutrition contents:
Dressing: Most dressings contain mainly oils and fats. A ¼ cup of olive oil, one that many consider to be healthy, contains 477 calories. The best dressings contain mainly vinegar and spices.
Cheese: Very high in fat and similarly very calorie-dense. 3 oz blue cheese contains 360 calories.
Croutons and wontons sticks: These are high in carbs and, in many cases, laced with oils. For example, 2 oz of Walmart brand croutons contains 244 calories.
Raisins and Craisins: Frequent additions to many salads, dried fruits are very high in carbs. 2 oz of raisins contain 169 calories and 45 grams of carbs. Craisins are even higher, with 260 calories and 66 grams of carbs. That’s equivalent to 15 tsp of sugar! An inside source advised me that craisins are made by crushing out the juice and infusing the left-over berry with sugar.
Nuts: Often touted as healthy by Mediterranean diet enthusiasts, nuts are a great way to pack on the calories. 3 oz. of walnuts contains 556 calories and 55 grams of fat.
Don’t be discouraged, as knowledge is power. You can make a salad healthy and low-calorie, but it will require being specific when you order.
Here is how:
“I’ll have the Greek salad with dressing on the side, no cheese, croutons.” Even better would be to use low-calorie dressing or vinegar or lemon juice if available. Menus often list the salad’s ingredients, making it easier to know what to avoid. Don’t be afraid to bring your own Walden Farms® dressing. The many choices are calorie-free.
Tip: Dip your fork in the dressing, then in the salad.