Why You Should Think Twice Before Ordering A Chef Salad

Chef salad is a popular American appetizer and entree you'll find at many restaurants across the country. It usually consists of a bed of greens topped with a hard-boiled egg, a variety of meats, tomatoes, cucumbers, and cheese. Most people probably think they're making a good dietary decision when they order a chef salad at a restaurant, but this option may not be as healthy as you think.

Salads made with plenty of vegetables are full of vitamins and minerals, according to Medline Plus. However, those nutrients don't negate things like saturated fats, sugars, and refined carbs. The cheese in a chef's salad can add a significant amount of calories and fat depending on the amount added.

Chef salad often contains other unhealthy components as well. In addition to cheese, this salad is filled with meats that "are often processed and contain nitrite preservatives that may increase risk for cancer when consumed consistently," according to HealthDay.

Make a healthier version of chef salad at home

Fortunately, there are many ways to make your salads healthier. According to Greatist, salads need four main components: greens, protein, vegetables or fruit, and dressing. This leads to unlimited possibilities, so you get to be as creative as you want with your ingredients.

To make a healthier chef salad, consider adding some dark greens like kale or spinach to the bed of lettuce. This will add more vitamins and minerals and change up the texture. Instead of deli meats, use grilled chicken breast or leave out the meat entirely and stick with a hard-boiled egg. The tomatoes, cucumbers, and other veggies can stay. Finally, cut down on the amount of cheese in the salad or switch it out for a lower-fat, lower-sodium cheese like mozzarella or Swiss.

If you can't make any substitutions for a chef salad at a restaurant, ask for the dressing and toppings on the side so you can control how much you eat. But you can enjoy this salad in its entirely when eaten in moderation.