Many people consider purchasing fast food salads as a way of eating healthy. While a fast food salad does offer many of the important parts of a healthy meal, there may be a number of factors that contribute to make the salad that you eat unhealthy as well. For this reason, it's important to check on the individual health and dietary information for each salad that you're interested in buying before you eat it as a healthy option. Most fast food restaurants have this information available. Read on for a brief guide to some of the factors that make fast food salads more or less healthy.
Healthy Components of Fast Food Salads
Fast food salads and veggies do contain many of the same nutrients that standard vegetables and salads do. This makes them a good alternative in many ways to some of the other highly processed foods that you're likely to find at a fast food restaurant. Purchasing apple slices or carrot sticks is a great way to avoid buying french fries, milkshakes, burgers and other standard fast food options as well. Salads oftentimes contain a variety of different vegetables as well, making them a good option if you're looking to ingest some of the nutrients and vitamins that you'll need.
Unfortunately, the unhealthy components in fast food salads and veggies oftentimes outweigh the healthy ones. First, many salads contain predominantly iceberg lettuce. This type of lettuce, while low in calories, is not rich in vitamins or other nutrients. Many of these salads contain only a small number of vegetables, bringing their overall benefit down to a fairly low level. Additionally, lots of fast food fruits and vegetables that are sold individually are preserved with chemicals or otherwise devoid of many of the nutrients that they would normally have.
Hidden Fats and Calories
Many people are surprised to learn that some of the items on fast food menus with the highest number of calories and grams of fat are oftentimes salads. This makes sense if you consider what many fast food salads contain. Many of these salads have cheese (high in calories and fat), salad dressing (options that aren't low fat are generally high in calories and fat as well) and meat of different kinds. Salads featuring fried chicken and other fried meat are typically the worst in terms of their overall nutritional value. Adding these different components together virtually negates the benefits that you'll get from eating the vegetables that also come in the salad as well.
The best way to get a healthy and nutritious meal is to avoid fast food restaurants altogether. By doing this, you'll also resist the temptation to purchase other food items along with your salad and veggies, such as a hamburger, an order of fries or an extra-thick chocolate milkshake.