When anyone trying to lose weight goes out to eat, they often aim to choose something generally known as “healthy,” or what appears to be the most nutritious option on the menu. There is one deceptive option that you can select that contains a lot of “natural” ingredients along with other high-calorie contents that you may not be aware of.
We spoke with health experts Lisa Richards, registered dietitian and creator of the Candida Diet, and Amy Lippert, functional dietitian and founder of healthy website Almond Milk and Cookies on one seemingly healthy ingredient to be wary of when you go out to eat this year, and how to make sure you really choose the best version.
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Take a closer look at the contents of your salad
Whether you are a picky eater, not sure what to order or just want a load of veggies, choosing a salad can be a convenient, convenient, and quick option when you go out to eat. While salads seem like a distinctly healthy option, Richards advises paying attention to the contents of the one you choose, and why certain ingredients can contain extra calories without you even realizing it.
“A lot of fast food companies are aware of the fact that Americans are sick of being unhealthy,” Richards says. “This has led to the development of many ‘healthy’ menu items and in some cases even menus dedicated to nutrient-dense, low-calorie foods.”
Among these menu items, Richards says, are some “decent, even exceptional salad options.” However, when it comes to eating a fast food salad, Richards notes that there are certain nutritional guidelines to follow to avoid eating hidden calories.
“Avoid fried proteins like chicken fingers and opt for grilled foods instead,” Richards says, noting that “roasted or smoked chicken” provides lean protein without the extra calories and fat from frying and rusk. She says steak can also be a decent protein, but “you’ll want a leaner cut of beef.”
As for toppings, Richards advises staying away from fried onions and croutons, as they are “two types of toppings that quickly add empty calories, carbs, and fat to a fast food salad.”
Lippert agrees that baked and fried foods can hinder your weight loss progress. “These foods are inflammatory because of the trans fats in frying oils, which permeate the foods you eat,” says Lippert. “Eating foods that contain a large amount of trans fats can lead to weight gain.”
Optimal power ingredients on demand
Aside from grilled versions of your favorite proteins instead of fried, Richards explains, you’ll want to opt for a salad prepared with a nutrient-dense topping. This includes “black beans, avocados, tomatoes, cucumbers, low-fat cheese, corn, peppers, and other fruits and vegetables.” Richards also says that “romaine lettuce or a mixed green is preferred over iceberg lettuce” because the nutrient content is greater.
In general, you don’t have to stop ordering salads entirely in 2022, but avoid ordering them blindly or assuming they’re healthy without looking closely at their ingredients. This means staying away from fried proteins, fattening toppings and lettuce – all of these things can affect your weight loss journey and can easily be changed for a lighter option!