Salads are so healthy, no matter what you put in them, right? Nope. It is easier than you think to quickly load up your salad with calories just by adding certain toppings. You would be surprised at what a difference adding just a few roasted nuts can make.
With so many options, the salad bar can definitely be overwhelming, but by using this guide of toppings ranked by calories per serving, you may be better prepared to navigate the bar and understand what to avoid tossing into your next bowl of leafy greens.
6. Bacon (~50 calories in two tablespoons)
Steer clear of processed meats. Bacon is obviously very greasy, and even if you’re only putting little pieces in your salad, the calories quickly add up.
5. Starchy Vegetables (~80 calories in 1/2 cup)
Starchy vegetables, like corn and peas, definitely have more calories than non-starchy ones, like spinach and tomatoes. Starchy vegetables also have about 10 more grams of carbs in them, but in the end, vegetables are still vegetables. So, even though the starchy variety may have more calories, they are still pretty healthy.
4. Cheese (~100 calories in one ounce)
Typical cheeses found in salads, such as blue cheese and cheddar, are good sources of calcium and protein, but they are also loaded with calories and saturated fat. Try to limit your cheese intake, but if you dairy dose is a must have, try swapping out blue cheese for feta, which has fewer calories.
3. Croutons (~122 calories in one cup)
Even though these provide such a satisfying crunch, don’t waste calories on pieces of bread. Croutons, unlike most other breads, aren’t even filling, so it’s really not necessary to put them in your salad.
2. Creamy Salad Dressing (~160 calories in 1/4 cup)
This can’t come as a shock to people. No, that caesar or ranch dressing you are currently submerging your salad in is not healthy at all. Keep in mind, there is about 180 calories in the dressing alone, and these thick toppers are extremely fattening and extremely high in calories-not to mention that most contain many processed oils.
1. Salted or Roasted Nuts (~330 calories in 1/3 cup)
Roasted nuts are usually roasted in unhealthy fats that aren’t great for you. Not only is that extra sodium bad for your blood pressure, but those nuts are very high in fat and in calories. If you have access to them and you’re really nuts for nuts, try adding in some unsalted almonds or cashews, which only contain natural fats.