Bad Salad. Good Salad.

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Salad.  It seems like a good decision, doesn't it? Sometimes salad can seem like a fortuitous nutritional decision but actually turn out to be a huge mistake. Don't believe me? Here are a few examples..
  • T.G.I. Friday’s Santa Fe Chopped Salad has 1,800 calories (MSNBC).
  • Applebee's Oriental Chicken Salad has 1,310 calories, 93 grams of fat, and 1,470 milligrams of sodium (MSNBC).
  • California Pizza Kitchen's Waldorf Chicken Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing has 1,570 calories, 30 g saturated fat, and 2,082 mg sodium (MSNBC).

On your way to a dinner date?  Here are some salad-ordering tips:
  • Mexican Themed Salads = bad.  They're usually loaded with thinly cut tortilla chips (bad), lots of fat-saturated meat (bad), and an abundance of cheeses (also bad).
  • Creamy Dressings = bad. As far as dressing goes, if you can't see through it, it's bad.  That's a good rule of thumb to keep you away from heavily cream or mayonnaise/fat based dressings.  Steer clear of Blue Cheese, Ranch, and Thousand Island.  Head, instead, for vinaigrettes - my favorite is balsamic vinaigrette. 
  • No Croutons!  They seem harmless but are actually tiny little packages of carbs and calories.
  • Similarly, stay away from tortilla crisps, crispy noodles, etc.  Anything bread-related (even bread cousins like noodles and chips) should NOT be on your salad.

Or... stay home and make it yourself! Here's a salad recipe I came up with after having this delicious salad at Basil Leaf Cafe in Lincoln Park:

Here's my improvised version...

What You Need:
  • Spinach (Mixed greens in these pictures, but I prefer spinach)
  • Strawberries (Cut into thin rings)
  • Raspberries
  • Blueberries
  • Feta cheese
  • Sliced almonds or pine nuts
  • Dressing:  Balsalmic Vinaigrette

How You Do It:
  • Alright, salads are pretty much just about throwing stuff on a plate, right? So... do that!

Here are some links for further reading:


  1. This was a great post! I though the run down on what salads NOT to eat was really interesting. I always think "Salads = healthy" but that's clearly not the case! The recipe looks good, I'll have to try to it out!

  2. Ah man! But I love Mexican themed salads! This is a great post! I have so much to learn!

    Love your blog. Now following!
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  3. yay! I'm a nutrition major so I love this! It's so true! things you think are great really aren't. Sometimes things you think would be bad for you aren't as bad as you'd think! I like to look things up online before I go out to eat :)

  4. Oh wow! Um I definitely didn't realize some of this stuff like one of my favorite salads is the Mexican kind!!! Ahhh...I need to research what I eat more...great post an thanks for sharing! Also, thanks for following you are so sweet!

    Ashley Sloan

  5. Goodness, you might as well just eat a pizza at California Pizza Kitchen! Nice tips Carly!

  6. wow! this salad looks amazing! I LOVE feta so I really think I would like this! Thanks for sharing! Thank your for visiting and for your sweet comment on my blog! I love making new blog friends! I am your newest follower and would love it if you would follow me too! Thanks!

  7. I know, so crazy! I always used to assume salads were safe but half the time you might as well eat a big mac (or a pizza, Rhoda!).
    Thank you all for stopping by/ following :)

  8. Yum, that sounds so good. And I guess you could add basil leaf, too.

  9. Oh, wow that's a good idea - hadn't thought of that! :)

  10. This sounds so yummy! I will have to grab the stuff next time I run to the market.

    New follower from Party in Paris Friday Blog Hop.


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