If you want to lose weight, you can’t ever go wrong with salad, right? WRONG. The conventional wisdom that stocking up on salad will cause you to drop weight couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, this tried-and-true fat loss dish could actually be hindering your weight loss results! Not sure what I mean? Here’s the lowdown on the dangerous habits we all tend to develop as salad eaters:
1. Avoiding Healthy Fats.
Believe it or not, our bodies actually need fat to burn fat! Many people worry about adding things like nuts or avocados to their salads because of the excess fat and calories. Although adding a full avocado (clocking in at 200 calories) may not be wise, this healthy fat is excellent in moderation. Avocados have been linked to improved nutrient intake and lower risk of developing metabolic syndrome. Eating 1/3 to 1/2 of an avocado a day can actually be incredibly beneficial for your health and fat loss goals.
As far as dressings are concerned, yes, you should avoid drowning your salad in buttermilk ranch, blue cheese, or caesar dressing. But tossing a little bit of salad dressing made from healthy oils (e.g., olive or grape seed oil) into your dish is a perfect way to sneak in your essential fats for the day.
Finally, nuts, olives, and seeds – again, in moderation – are chock full of important micronutrients that your body needs to function properly. Try topping off your salad with 1/4 cup of nuts or seeds for a burst of flavor and an infusion of healthy fats.
2. Relying on To-Go Containers.
This one is dangerous. When you eat out of to-go containers or carryout boxes instead of plating your salad, you’re highly likely to go overboard with your portion sizes. It’s exceptionally difficult to gauge how much you’re eating out of those large containers, which can result in eating way more than you intended to or should.
Plating your food aids with portion control, which is key for weight loss. Next time you hit up a salad bar, try to divide up your container like you would a plate, with a large portion of veggies, a serving of protein (about fist-size) and a small amount of complex carbs or fruit.
3. Drinking Your Calories.
We’ve all seen those memes – the huge hamburger and fries, with the phrase “And a Diet Coke, please. I don’t want to get fat” plastered across the top. All too often, however, people have the opposite problem: Whatever calories they cut by eating salads they make up for with liquid calories.
Did you know, for example, that a Starbucks White Chocolate Mocha Frappuccino carries 410 calories and 54 grams of sugar? An original size Jamba Juice Peanut Butter Moo’d Shake contains a whopping 840 calories and 122 grams of sugar. Instead of opting for a caloric drink with your salad, choose regular or sparkling water instead so you’re not making up the damage elsewhere.