How healthy is your salad?

Well, it’s finally happened. The fast food industry has successfully targeted and marketed the healthy eaters of society with promises of exotic, flavourful salads that, in spite of ‘healthy’ appeal, are anything but healthy.

Listening to a recent radio advertisement for salads was a wake-up call to the fact that, once again, consumers are being duped into purchasing foods that are fattening to the waistline and loaded with hidden additives and fats.

The real problem with such ‘loaded salads’, besides the calories and fat, is that we lose the true taste for raw vegetables and become accustomed to having them dressed up. When the real thing comes along, we no longer enjoy it as our taste buds have been influenced and beguiled.

Consumer beware! Your salad could be adding pounds to your waistline and cholesterol to your arteries.

Eating raw vegetables is a key component of a healthy diet. Raw vegetables provide one of the purest forms of nutrition and fiber to your body. Like fruits, they are the healthy foods abundantly provided by nature. They grow! They still have some essence of life and are considered ‘living foods’. A diet high in raw fruits and vegetables is a step in cancer prevention, weight management and diabetes control.

According to Dr. Jen DeFries, author of more than 40 books on health, wellness and cancer prevention, we should all consume one green salad per day.

Finding a salad in Cayman is an easy feat these days. Whether it’s a supermarket salad bar, local fast-food joint or up-scale restaurant, here are some healthy lifestyle tips to make sure that your salad measures up in nutrition while keeping the calories and fats low:

At a salad bar, fill up on all the choices of raw lettuces, spinach, cucumbers, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, tomatoes, peppers, onions, etc.

Use minimal sprinkles of nuts and seeds. Although nutritious, they add calories.

Skip the cheese, or use only a light sprinkle. Skip the bacon bits.

Be careful of smooshy-whoosy, gooey looking options. You know what they are!

Choose lean sources of protein such as cottage cheese, chick peas or tuna not smothered in mayonnaise or select protein from the hot deli.

Practice portion control with regard to salad dressing. Olive Oil is the best choice. Otherwise, select a low-fat dressing.