Caution: Salad Could Sabotage Your Weight Loss!

Caution: Salad Could Sabotage Your Weight Loss!


Everyone knows that eating vegetables contributes to good health and is helpful for weight loss. Many of our patients report that they have replaced at least one meal with a salad. However, I was shocked at the number of calories (not to mention chemical preservatives, fat, sugar and salt) in some popular salads. It is important to check the ingredients in the salads you are eating.  Take a look at some of these high calorie salads (And consider that a Big Mac from McDonald’s has 550 calories, which is less than any of the salads below! 🙁

  • Chipotle Mexican Grill: Chicken Salad with black beans, red salsa, cheese, and chipotle honey vinaigrette, 720 calories
  • Wendy’s: BLT Cobb Salad with Croutons and Classic Ranch dressing, 760 calories
  • Jack in the Box: Crispy Chicken Club Salad with Croutons and Ranch dressing, 873 calories
  • Taco Bell: Chipotle Steak Fully Loaded Salad, 900 calories
  • Quizno’s: Chicken Caesar Flatbread Salad (with bread), 920 calories
  • Einstein Bros: Bros Bistro Salad with Chicken, 940 calories
  • Applebee’s: Grilled Shrimp and Spinach Salad, 1,050 calories
  • California Pizza Kitchen: Field Greens Salad with Gorgonzola Cheese, 1,098 calories
  • California Pizza Kitchen: Waldorf Chicken Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing, 1,570 calories
  • TGI Friday’s: Pecan-Crusted Chicken Salad, 1,360 calories
  • TGI Friday’s: Santa Fe Chopped Salad, 1,800 calories

Salad Ingredients: Making Healthy Salads

Next time you are having a salad, consider the following nutritional information:

  • ½ cup shredded romaine lettuce, 5 calories
  • 1 cup of raw spinach, 7 calories
  • ½ cup of cucumber slices, 8 calories
  • 1 cup of sliced mushrooms, 15 calories
  • 1 small tomato, 16 calories
  • 1 cup of chopped broccoli,30 calories
  • 1 cup of chopped red peppers, 46 calories
  • 1 cup of chopped carrots, 52 calories
  • 1 medium peach, 42 calories
  • 1 cup strawberries, 46 calories
  • 1 medium apple, 52 calories
  • 1 cup raspberries, 60 calories
  • 1 cup blueberries, 81 calories
  • 1 cup grapes, 114 calories
  • 1 cup dates, 490 calories
  •  1 ounce dried cranberries, 100 calories
  •  medium pear, 98 calories
  • 1 hard boiled egg, 78 calories
  • 1 ounce of feta cheese, 100 calories
  • 1 ounce of cheddar cheese, 113 calories
  • 3 ounces of chicken w/o skin, 143 calories
  • 1 cup of tuna, 179 calories
  • 7 walnuts, 183 calories
  • 1/4 cup of sunflower seeds, 170 calories
  • 1/2 avocado, 145 calories

Salad Dressings: Some Nutritional Guidelines

Here are some heart healthy dressing recipes to avoid sabotaging that healthy salad! Best option of course is to use just a little organic olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Remember, dress your salad, don’t drench it in dressing!

Raspberry Vinaigrette 

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup raspberries

2 tablespoons honey

1/4 cup fresh basil

In a blender or food processor, combine raspberries, balsamic vinegar, honey, basil. Blend 1 minute or until well blended. With the motor on, add olive oil in s slow steady stream, blending until dressing is smooth.

Heart Healthy Blue Cheese

1 cup Greek yogurt

2 tablespoons blue cheese crumbles

Combine ingredients and let sit for at least 1 hour, for best results let sit for 24 hours.

Heart Healthy Ranch

1 cup Greek Yogurt

1 teaspoon dried/powdered ranch seasoning

Combine ingredients and let sit for at least 1 hour, for best results let sit for 24 hours.


It’s always best to make your own, but if you are still going to buy dressings from the grocery store, be aware of the calorie, fat and sugar content. Here are the nutritional values for JUST TWO TABLESPOONS of dressing:

  • Kraft Fat Free Italian , 20 calories
  • Litehouse Light Jalapeno Ranch, 70 calories
  • Litehouse Light Blue Cheese, 80 calories
  • Newman’s Own Poppy seed Dressing, 140 calories
  • Annie’s Organic Red Wine & Olive Oil, 160 calories
  • Brianna’s Classic Buttermilk Ranch, 160 calories
  • Kraft Creamy Caesar, 190 calories

So, it is possible to eat a really healthy, low calorie salad. It is also possible to eat a salad with over 1000 calories, so be careful!

I hope these examples help you make a good salad choice whether you are out at a restaurant or making your very own.

Paula C, ANP

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