A seemingly diet-friendly bowl of salad could, in fact, be loaded with calories.
We test the most popular salads – and check out the damage your salad dressing could be causing too.
Calories: 287. Fat: 26.5g
This can be unhealthy because it is loaded with mayonnaise and therefore fat. “Potatoes in themselves aren’t bad because they deliver lots of fibre and are a good source of potassium and vitamin C,”. “It’s the mayonnaise that’s the downfall.”
Theobald suggests making your own. “This way you can use whole, unpeeled baby potatoes to avoid losing vitamin C content through chopping; add chopped spring onions and mix in a lowfat mayo dressing instead of mayonnaise.”
Calories: 500. Fat: 40g
Iceberg lettuce typically used has few nutrients and is essentially fibre and water. With salad leaves, the darker the green, the more nutritious it is. This salad is also laden with fat thanks to the Parmesan cheese, creamy dressing and croutons, which are high in both fat and calories.
Use a low-calorie dressing, such as a fat-free vinaigrette. And for a nutritional punch add lean protein such as a chicken breast.
Calories: 193. Fat: 17.7g
The original Waldorf salad was made only with apples, celery and mayonnaise, but its popularity increased with the addition of chopped walnuts.
Nuts are frequently frowned upon because of their high fat content, but studies found that three ounces of walnuts a day resulted in a drop in LDL (bad) cholesterol. “Low-fat mayonnaise and non-fat yoghurt are healthier ways of updating this classic salad,” says Theobald.
Calories: 258. Fat: 26.4g
A great source of fibre, vitamins
A and C, beta-carotene and folic acid, the shredded carrot in coleslaw is a nutritional powerhouse. However, the benefits are depleted by adding mayonnaise. Instead, make your own coleslaw with fat-reduced mayonnaise or low-fat yoghurt.
Tuna, sweetcorn and pasta
Calories: 203. Fat: 12.2g
Although not too bad in nutritional value – it is full of protein and carbohydrates – this salad’s high fat content comes from the oil used in the canned tuna. Try tuna in spring water or brine, or go for other types of fish, such as mackerel or salmon, which are better sources of omega-3 fats. Prawns are a good choice, too, because they are low in fat, good for vitamin B12 and are rich in the fat-soluble vitamins A, E and D.
Calories: 130. Fat: 12.5g
Tomatoes are high in vitamin C and are good for vitamin A. In addition tomatoes contain lycopene – an antioxidant with cancer-preventing qualities. Go easy on the cheese. Although full of calcium and vitamin B2, it’s high in fat and salt content. Add olives (less than 10 calories each) for their monounsaturated fatty acid, which has been shown to help fight heart disease.
Calories: 166. Fat: 7.5g
“A good, healthy option, but avoid couscous salads as the couscous may have been cooked in butter. If possible, go for brown rice rather than white. It is full of fibre, protein, B vitamins, iron and essential fatty acids. And add some raw peppers – they’re excellent sources of vitamins A and C.
Calories: 147. Fat: 9.3g
A good choice providing it is not doused in olive oil. Beans are not only high in protein, but you get a good dose of B vitamins, iron and they’re high in fibre. Beans are also high in carbohydrates and have a low glycaemic index, which means a bean salad will digest slowly and you’ll feel fuller for longer.