Is that salad making you fat?

Dietitian and nutritionist points out hidden fats
Registered dietitian and nutritionist, Dawn Jackson Blatner, says salads can be a dangerous choice if you aren't careful. "People assume a salad is always the best bet when dining out, or even at home. They don't realize all the toppings they are adding on might be packing on some pounds," Blatner says.

But you do not have to sacrifice taste or crunch for a delicious and nutritious salad. Blatner offers her top swaps for a healthy salad:

Croutons vs. Water Chestnuts
Every salad needs some extra crunch! Two tablespoons of croutons contain 116 calories, whereas two tablespoons of water chestnuts only have 10 calories.

Raisins vs. Fresh Grapes
Two tablespoons of teeny tiny raisins contain 85 calories but you can have an entire cup of grapes for only 62 calories!

Oil & Vinegar vs. Light Balsamic Vinaigrette
We all know creamy dressings are fatty, but that healthy olive oil we are slicking on has 144 calories and 16 grams of fat in just two tablespoons! Light balsamic vinaigrette contains a mere 20 calories and 1.4 grams of fat for the same amount.

Chopped Peanuts vs. Chopped Garbanzo Beans
Two tablespoons of chopped peanuts packs an extra160 calories and 14 grams of fat, but for the same amount of garbanzo beans, it will only add 36 calories to your salad!

Tuna Salad vs. Tuna
Tuna salad has mayo in it which ups the calorie count of your salad by 190 and 9 grams of fat for just a half a cup! Drained, canned tuna only has 145 calories and 3 grams of fat in one half cup.

Shredded Cheese vs. Shredded Carrots
In ¼ cup of shredded cheddar, there are 114 calories and 10 grams of fat. Swap that out for ¼ cup of shredded carrots for just 10 calories!

Tips for a healthy and delicious salad

  1. Vary your Veggies. Opt for different combos every time you eat a salad to avoid salad boredom and monotony. Even try salads without lettuce such as mango, radish and cucumber, multi-colored tomato salad or a three pepper salad. Also add fresh fruit to a vegetable salad to keep it exciting such as chopped apples, strawberries, grapes or pears.
  2. Dress for Success. Use low-fat dressing instead of high fat versions or just pouring on the olive oil. The worse dressings have over 150 calories per 2 Tablespoons and the best are around 70 calories per 2 Tablespoons.
  3. Limit the Additions. Choose just one fat and just one protein to toss into each of your salads. Fat: choose 2-4 Tablespoons of cheese, avocado, nuts OR olives and Protein: 2-3 ounces of steamed shrimp, eggs, tuna, lean steak OR chicken.

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About Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD, LDN
Dawn Jackson Blatner is a registered and licensed dietitian in Chicago. She is a national media spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association and has appeared in USA Today, Dateline, Newsweek, Cooking Light and WebMD. Blatner regularly appears on television for healthy eating and is the dietitian for where she contributes a weekly column and educational videos. She is a food and nutrition blogger with USA Today and a nutrition expert on the advisory board of Fitness magazine and Time Out Chicago. Blatner is an instructor at the Chopping Block in Chicago where she teaches "Healthy in a Hurry" cooking classes.

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