When faced with your menu options at a fast food restaurant, a person who is being mindful about their health and weight might naturally think the best option involves lettuce, carrots, and tomatoes. Surely, a fast food salad is going to be lighter in calories and grams of fat than a double cheeseburger with all the fixings?
While there is some truth in that statement, regarding fast food salads as the golden answer ignores the reality of how they are made and which ingredients and dressings and been added to boost their taste. Unless you are vigilant about what has actually been added to your fast food salad, you could wind up consuming a lot more calories than you think.
Click to see which ingredients you should look out for in a fast food salad--->
"Salads can be loaded with dressing, adding hundreds of calories and saturated fats," says Nutrition Consultant Stacy Goldberg of Savorfull. "There are hidden sugar sources in salads including salad dressings (especially sweet ones like raspberry vinaigrettes and poppyseed), as well as dried fruit and caramelized nuts. The grams of sugar can add up very quickly."
Beware of all thing crunchy in your salad — as well as the portions that are served in your average fast food salad container.
"Salads can often contain crunchy fried carbohydrates such as french fried onions and croutons, also leading to excess fat and carbohydrates," Goldberg says. "There are often several sources of protein in excess portions (think Chef Salad..ham, turkey, sometimes chicken). You really only need a small amount of each or you can pick one. Many Mexican salads are served in a taco shell which is laden with fat and calories."
Bottom line: salads aren't automatically healthy. Be aware of what you're being served in a fast food restaurant and limit the amount of dressing and crunchy bits to save on calories and carbs.