Burger-and-fries combo healthier than some salads?

Holly Enriquez
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Getty: Salad
Grabbing a salad at your desk may not be as healthy as you think
You may be getting more than you bargain for when you order that "healthy" sandwich or salad — a whole lot of fat and salt.

Before you give yourself a pat on the back after returning from the food court, salad in hand, UK consumer group Which? warns your seemingly healthy choice may be laden with unhealthy ingredients and you may as well have gone for the burger and fries.

Surveys done by the consumer watchdog revealed some store-bought sandwiches contain as much salt as nine bags of chips and are also high in fat and kilojoules, the UK's Daily Mail reported.

Related video: make your own healthy salad

Many takeaway salads were also exposed as containing more fat and kilojoules than a burger and fries (and they hardly seem "indulgent" do they?).

"A lot of pre-made salads from supermarkets and salad bars are notoriously high in saturated fat and salt," Art of Healing nutritionist and naturopath Lisa Guy told Health & Wellbeing.

"Salads with creamy sauces and mayonnaise are the main culprits. Pesto sauce and grilled or sun-dried vegetables (marinated in vegetable oil), added to salads or sandwiches will also greatly increases the calorie and fat count."

"But they're full of green stuff," I hear you say, "Surely they're a better option?" Well, take a Crispy Chicken Caesar Salad from McDonald's for example. It contains 1440 kilojoules and 16.9g fat — and that's before you've added the creamy caesar dressing which contains a further 13g fat.

And your egg-salad sandwich? Not so healthy after all. "Mayonnaise is 80 percent fat," Guy said. "One tablespoon serving contains 12g of saturated fat, which is more fat than in a Mars bar." And you'll find it in most store-bought salads and sandwiches for its rich, creamy flavour.

"Instead of mayonnaise, use healthy low-fat condiments like mustard, hummus, tahini, avocado with lemon juice, fruit or tomato chutney," Guy said.

"Healthy low-fat salad dressings include balsamic vinegar, lemon juice and tamari, or you can make your own healthy mayo with natural yoghurt, lemon juice and wholegrain mustard."

When choosing a sandwich, Guy suggests opting for wholegrain bread over white, low-fat cheese over full-fat and avoiding deli meats such as pastrami and bacon. Instead choose a low-fat protein source such as tuna or skinless chicken and top it off with lots of colourful salad items. And remember: no mayonnaise!

Looking for some lunchtime inspiration? We've got five healthy, no-fuss lunches that you're gunna love.

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