Dietitians Warn: How Your Salad Could Be a Calorie Bomb 

United States: Salads are most often referred to as the source of proper, slimming, and satiating nutrition and are considered to be low in calories, low-carb, and nutrient-rich. 

However, it can be seen that there is need to know how calories may be sneaking and accumulating in even the healthiest of foods such as a plate of salad greens and thus, three registered dietitian have offered their views as to what those chances are and why they are adverse. 

According to Nikki Kuhlmann, RD, LDN, a registered dietitian with Anne Till Nutrition Group in Raleigh, North Carolina, “Some sneaky culprits, however, can turn your healthy meal into a calorie-laden dish,” as Fox News reported. 

Here are seven of the areas worth reconsidering. 

How Your Salad Could Be a Calorie Bomb. Credit | Getty Images
How Your Salad Could Be a Calorie Bomb. Credit | Getty Images

1. Salad dressings 

You may believe that choosing a salad for lunch and dinner almost guarantees a low-calorie and healthy meal choice, but the wrong salad dressing can shift your meal to one with more calories than expected. 

Therefore, Julie Lopez, A.R.N., with Virtual Teaching Kitchen, located in Succasunna, New Jersey, warned to stay clear of creamy dressings. Moreover, too much of the dressing can be a sneaky trap. 

Lopez said, “You can always add more dressing, but you can’t take it away,” and, “Some [people] recommend dipping your fork in the dressing, but I personally like to toss it all together. So I like to add a little and toss it so it lightly coats it.” 

Kuhlmann with Anne Till Nutrition Group also warned that store-bought dressings are generally loaded with sugar, unhealthy fats, and preservatives, Fox News reported. 

She added that even “light” or “fat-free” versions can be high in sugars and additives to compensate for the lack of fat

Kuhlmann added that, “A healthier way to go is to make your own dressing using olive oil, vinegar or lemon juice, and a touch of mustard or honey for flavor,” and, “This way, you control the ingredients and the portion size.” as Fox News reported. 

How Your Salad Could Be a Calorie Bomb. Credit | Freepik
How Your Salad Could Be a Calorie Bomb. Credit | Freepik

2. Cheese toppings  

Cheese is an added bonus in terms of taste and moistness, although food professionals tend to agree that the latter compromises calories and saturated fats. 

According to Kuhlmann, “A small sprinkle can quickly escalate the calorie count,” and “Cheese can add 100-200 calories per serving and significant amounts of saturated fat, which can contribute to heart disease if consumed in excess.” 

3. Croutons and other crunchy toss-ins 

Opposed to that, under the notice of Dieticians, such additions like croutons, bacon bits, and fried onions also give crunch, and all of them, and even worse, are very caloric, contain unhealthy fats, and sometimes added sugars, – Kuhlmann. 

She continued, “While these toppings, depending on the serving size, contribute approximately 100-150 calories per serving, are made with refined grains and unhealthy oils. 

Further, as she said, there should be a better choice than using peanut butter; instead, one should opt for using almonds or walnuts or other kinds of seeds like sunflower seeds. 

“These contain, above all, the healthy fats, proteins, and a crunchy texture, and the toasting can bring benefits to the flavor of nuts,” she said. 

How Your Salad Could Be a Calorie Bomb. Credit | Freepik
How Your Salad Could Be a Calorie Bomb. Credit | Freepik

4. Protein picks 

Yes, protein is needed but certain foods such as fried chicken, processed deli meat, or large amounts of steak can raise caloric intake and the intake of unhealthy fats, said Kuhlmann. 

But grilled or baked chicken or fish, tofu, beans, or legumes can be perfectly healthy choices. 

These options are relatively lower in unhealthy fats and could, therefore, be potential sources of quality protein

5. Pasta and grains 

Such salads with pasta added in them, as well as quinoa or couscous, make them more filling. However, they make it calorie-dense. 

According to Kuhlmann, “A cup of pasta or grains can add 200-300 calories,” and “While these can be healthy carbs, they can also push your salad into a high-calorie meal if not portioned properly.” 

She also suggested that “You can also use cauliflower rice or spiralized vegetables like zucchini noodles for a lower-calorie alternative,” as Fox News reported. 

How Your Salad Could Be a Calorie Bomb. Credit | Freepik
How Your Salad Could Be a Calorie Bomb. Credit | Freepik

6. Dried fruit 

Ordinary ingredients which are added to the salads include dried fruits such as raisins, cranberries, dates, and cherries — but these are rich in calories. 

Lisa Valente, MS, RD, food expert with Healthline, who is based in Burlington, Vermont, said, “I love dried fruit, but throwing a big handful on a salad can add quite a few calories,” and, “I prefer using fresh fruit for a little bit of sweetness … You get a much bigger portion, but if you’re really craving dried fruit, be mindful of portion size and look for no added sugar options.” 

7. Nuts and seeds  

Moreover, if we talk about nuts and seeds, we can add more crunch to a salad and be sources of healthy fats. They can help you feel fuller between meals but keep portion size in check, as experts alerted. 

According to Valente with Healthline, “Choose smaller nuts and seeds, like slivered almonds or sunflower seeds, to help spread them out over your salad without going for a huge portion,” as Fox News reported. 

However, when choosing nuts, it is wise to exclude candied nut products, suggested Lopez from Virtual Testing Kitchen.