May 26, 2003
What's in a name? When someone says, "Salad," what image
comes to mind? Do you think of rabbit food? Do you think of it as
While at the local farmer's
market on Saturday, I overheard someone giving her opinion on the
subject. She commented that she only liked salad if it had a good
dressing; the salad was just a vehicle, something for the dressing
to stick to while she ate it.
When many people think of
salads, they picture a pile of leaves. While this may not be the first
choice for many, it is often the choice made by those trying to "eat
healthy." Even fast food restaurants are trying to bring in health/weight
conscious patrons by offering salads that will appeal to people, not
rabbits. The question remains, with all the added extras, is it still
healthy? Does it still count as a salad?
Salad: "A dish of raw
leafy green vegetables, often tossed with pieces of other raw or cooked
vegetables, fruit, cheese, or other ingredients and served with a
dressing....A cold dish of chopped vegetables, fruit, meat, fish,
eggs, or other food, usually prepared with a dressing, such as mayonnaise."
So, with the inclusion of
"other ingredients," one could chop up just about anything
and put it together to make a salad. The dressing, the mayonnaise,
the "other food," may be what help improve the taste of
the salad, but are they making it so that it is no longer a healthy
While the fact that a Quarter
Pounder from McDonald's has 420 calories and 21 grams of fat may not
be much of a surprise to those counting calories and watching fat
grams, how many would think that a Crispy Chicken California Cobb
Salad (with no dressing--also from McDonald's) has 380 calories and
23 grams of fat?
How do other restaurants
Many have nutritional information available upon request, while others
have information charted online. Search your favorite and see what
they have to say.
Restaurants (fast food and
others) know that many people have good intentions are trying to eat
a healthier diet. While some new additions to the menu are healthier
alternatives, others just have healthy names. What items will help
those who are trying to "Aim for a total fat intake of no more
than 30 percent of calories, as recommended...."
"The USDA has established
dietary guidelines to help us make healthy choices. Some of these
* Eat a variety of foods.
* Choose a diet with plenty of grain products, vegetables, and fruits.
* Choose a diet low in total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol.
* Eat sugars and sodium (salt) in moderation."
Questions of the Week:
How do you know if what you are choosing is a "healthy choice"?
What makes a food a "healthy choice"? If we can't trust
salads to be healthy alternatives, then what can we look for?
Please email me with any ideas or suggestions.
Note: Due to increasing amounts of SPAM sent to this account, please include "QOW" in the subject line when sending me email.
I look forward to reading
what you have to say.
Health Community Coordinator
Access Excellence @ the National Health Museum