What do you know about calories in salad? It's always thought of as a low cal option, the choice of many dieters and weight watchers, but does it live up to that reputation?
At its simplest, there's no doubt that the calories in salad are minimal - watery or leafy vegetables such as lettuce, cucumber, and cabbage only have about 20 calories per 100g.
On the other hand, the D'Autunno chicken salad at Pizza Express checks in at a massive 940 calories, with 35% of that coming from fat. The same is true of many of the salads at the big high street restaurant chains. In fact, some of them are so loaded with fat and calories, that you'd be better off getting a burger and fries or a pizza.
The key is to look carefully at what you are getting. The basic ingredients are all low fat and healthy - for example:
- Lettuce, cucumber, cabbage - about 20 calories (kcal) per 100g
- Peppers, carrots, tomatoes - about 35 kcal per 100g
- Apples, oranges, pineapple - about 50 - 60 kcal per 100g
What makes these unhealthy is things like creamy dressing, croutons, or lots of cheese. However, it's easy to turn a simple salad into a complete and healthy meal by adding some low fat protein such as beans, chicken, turkey or tuna.
For dressing, choose a vinaigrette, and drizzle it lightly rather than drowning your food in it.