HEALTHY EATERS QUESTION- is fast food salad okay?

Phill_MostPhill_Most 4,594 Posts
edited August 2005 in Off Topic (NRR)
I'm trying to get right with my eating habits- more green leafy stuff in my diet, more water, less sugar and saturated fats, ya know. Now, me and the wife are watching "Super Size Me" this morning (well, she's taping it- I'll watch it later), and I was just wondering if there's anything wrong with the salads they serve these days at fast food spots like Mick D's, Wendy's etc. I been on them Wendy's side salads instead of fries for about a month and I'm lovin' them shits. But since this IS Wendy's we're talking about here, I'm wondering if there's something about these salads that might make them not really as good for you as they may seem (preservatives, stuff put on them to make them look better, whatever). I depend on the incredible knowledge of Soulstrut whenever I have questions about important things like what I should or should not eat to stay healthy and hopefully live a long and illness free life, and if I do get sick and die after following your advice I will blame you all and probably come back from the dead to haunt your miserable souls forever. Thanks, guys!
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  Comments


  • chasechase 767 Posts
    the dressing is what gets ya

  • PEKPEK 735 Posts
    Pretty sure it's all right - what I'd be careful of is the dressing though: it may be all for naught if the dressing is high in fat content/calories/etc.; isn't that hard to get a salad goin' @ home though (e.g. Greek: tomatos, cucumbers, olives, feta cheese, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt/pepper - you're done!)...

    Also, GMO (genetically modified organism) foods are a bigger deal overseas than here in North America; there won't be any conclusive results pertainin' to the effects of GMO foods until they've been in the food chain for a good long time (similar to what potentially will manifest itself w/ cell phones) - gotta say that in all likelihood, what you're gettin' from a fast food operation won't be the freshest, least contaminated (GMO, pesticide, or otherwise) product...

  • Phill_MostPhill_Most 4,594 Posts
    isn't that hard to get a salad goin' @ home though

    You are right, my man. Only thing is, I live a fast food life, bro- meaning on the go, always into something, picking up kids from school, helping with homework, tryin' to do my own thing, etc. So unfortunately a lot of times I gotta hit the Wendy's drive-in and keep it movin'.
    Although I guess if I spent less time thinking up new and meaningful Soulstrut posts I probably would have enough time to prepare healthier meals, huh? I don't know if it would be worth the sacrifice.

  • GuzzoGuzzo 8,611 Posts
    I wouldn't risk it, most fast food places arn't really looking out to make healthy food. There shold be nutricional facts available at any of these restaurants (ask about ti while going through the drive thru)

    If your really in the much of a cruch for time I'd look into getting those pre packaged salads from teh market, the nutricional info is on the side so you can monitor what youre eating and you can pop out the fridge whenever you need without having to prepare anything.

  • PEKPEK 735 Posts


    You are right, my man. Only thing is, I live a fast food life, bro- meaning on the go, always into something, picking up kids from school, helping with homework, tryin' to do my own thing, etc. So unfortunately a lot of times I gotta hit the Wendy's drive-in and keep it movin'.

    Although I guess if I spent less time thinking up new and meaningful Soulstrut posts I probably would have enough time to prepare healthier meals, huh? I don't know if it would be worth the sacrifice.



    I hear ya Phill on the time constraints, but ever since decidin' to make food @ home, when I occasionally eat out, I'm surprised by the amount of salt (and other additives) included in stuff such as pizza - it tastes like you're gettin' your weekly sodium intake in one sittin'... I'm about to get busy w/ some curried shrimp today, but here's a simple no-fuss recipe that I reach for when I'm pressed for time and/or don't wanna mess w/ too much in the kitchen:



    fresh fish fillets (w/ skin on): e.g. snapper, bass, etc.

    basil (or rosemary, thyme, etc.)

    olive oil

    lemon sliced

    salt

    pepper

    anchovies (placed in a bowl of water to dilute the salt in which it's kept in - packagin')

    capers (placed in a bowel of water for same reason as above)



    Crush the basil (or any of the other herbs) w/ a mortar and pestle, add oil. Put the fillets in a bakin' tray, season w/ salt/pepper, sprinkle on the basil/oil solution, place the anchovies and capers on the fillets, then top w/ the lemon slices - bake for 20 minutes @ 400 F and you're good to go - serve w/ homemade mash potatoes and a salad...

  • AserAser 2,351 Posts
    usually, the dressing portions they give you are double what you need. I have no idea why americans have this obsession to overdress eveything (you can lump over-sauced pasta in the same boat). Try to use less than half of the packaged salad dressing.



    for even easier home cooking, you can follow the above recipe but bake in a tin foil pouch. Therefore the fish steams and there's no messy clean up.

  • coselmedcoselmed 1,114 Posts




    If your really in the much of a cruch for time I'd look into getting those pre packaged salads from teh market, the nutricional info is on the side so you can monitor what youre eating and you can pop out the fridge whenever you need without having to prepare anything.



    What's the difference between pre-packaged salad and what you purchase at a fast food restaurant? I would venture there is no difference, although you're more likely to see some iceberg lettuce snuck into your mix at a fast food restaurant instead of some of the more "diverse greens."

  • usually, the dressing portiosn they give you are double what you need. I have no idea why americans have this obsession to overdress eveything (you lump over-sauced pasta in the same boat). Try to use less than half of the packaged salad dressing.

    The other problem is some commercial dressings and pasta sauce have extreme amounts of sugar and salt in em.

    Me and the wifey stay late at work/school (same thing for us) about half the time. We've gotten around eating out, well kind of, we still hit up subway once a week, but here's what we do:

    On the weekend I make a big vat of soup, something that will stick with you, like fish chowder or tomato & avocado. We've got these little thermoses that were crazy $$$ but paid for themselves in a week.

    Then you just throw that in a bag with a piece of bread and a half a sandwich or salad and it's a done deal. Prep time 5 minutes.

    We're also doing some portion control. Like if we go out to dinner at chipotle, we'll split one of those burrittos instead of each getting our own. You won't be stuffed to the gils with burritto, but you know you won't feel right if you eat a whole one and shit will put you to sleep!

  • SPlDEYSPlDEY Vegas 3,239 Posts
    Almost everything on the Mcdonalds menu pretty much has sugar in it. The salad dressing is pretty bad about this. According to medicinenet.com; the "McDonald's Crispy Bacon Ranch Salad has more fat and calories and just as much cholesterol as a Big Mac." Also there chart for Wendy's wasn't all that thrilling

    Wendy's
    Salad Fat (g) Saturated Fat (g) Cholesterol (mg) Fiber (g) Sodium (mg)
    Chicken BLT Salad with Homestyle Garlic Croutons and Honey Mustard Dressing
    Salad Fat (g)= 47.5
    Saturated Fat (g)= 12.5
    Cholesterol (mg)= 85
    Fiber (g)= 4
    Sodium (mg)= 1630

    Mandarin Chicken Salad with Roasted Almost, Crispy Rice Noodles, and Oriental Sesame Dressing
    Salad Fat (g)= 36.5
    Saturated Fat (g)= 4.5
    Cholesterol (mg)= 59.5*
    Fiber (g)= 5
    Sodium (mg)= 1520

    Spring Mix Salad with Honey-Roasted Pecans and House Vinagrette Dressing
    Salad Fat (g)= 44
    Saturated Fat (g)= 10
    Cholesterol (mg)= 30
    Fiber (g)= 7
    Sodium (mg)= 1125

    Taco Supremo Salad with Taco Chips, Sour Cream, and Salsa
    Salad Fat (g)= 34
    Saturated Fat (g)= 15.5
    Cholesterol (mg)= 80
    Fiber (g)= 10
    Sodium (mg)= 1695

    The reason for this is sodium and cholesterol are high because alot of additives are in there for taste value. Alternatively, Wendy's In-door salad bar you can pick and choose your own vegetables, and cut alot of that fat. Personally, I don't trust the freshness of fast food salad bars. I'm sure they're not taking the time to stock with organic vegetables or even to check to see if you're getting chemically processed vegetables. I also won't eat any fast food salad with cheeses piled on top.

    It's a good choice to eat healthy, but DIY is the freshest way.

    - spidey


  • GuzzoGuzzo 8,611 Posts




    If your really in the much of a cruch for time I'd look into getting those pre packaged salads from teh market, the nutricional info is on the side so you can monitor what youre eating and you can pop out the fridge whenever you need without having to prepare anything.



    What's the difference between pre-packaged salad and what you purchase at a fast food restaurant? I would venture there is no difference, although you're more likely to see some iceberg lettuce snuck into your mix at a fast food restaurant instead of some of the more "diverse greens."



    good question, I'm basing my reccomendation on 2 things



    1. In the documentary "Supersize Me" Morgan Spurlock makes mention of how McDonalds salads actually contain sugar. It makes me wonder what other elements are added to salads sold at the different fast food spots



    2. the nutricional information for the prepackaged salads from the market is right there, so you can montor what youre taking in.

  • Options
    Aren't carrots considered high in sugar? Some fast food salads have lots of carrots in them which can cause the sugar content to go up maybe?

  • GambleGamble 844 Posts
    (you can lump over-sauced pasta in the same boat)

    Yah, over sauced and WAAAAY over cooked. Growing up with Italian home cooking really spoiled me. I remember going to a friends families house several years ago. They had one bowl of damn near liquid spaghetti (which they kept reffering to as "Good Noodles"), and one bowl of (microwaved?) Marinara sauce. They poured that italian ketchup on so heavy it looked like i was eating red tortilla soup. Blech.

    I asked if they didnt prefer their pasta al dente.

    they thought i meant served with ice cream.


    ANyways, back to the point, the best fast food salad (taste wise) is at Pollo Loco. Its got a bunch of chicken in it, Cooked serano's, and seemingly good quality lettuce. To make it healthier i ask for VERY little dressing, then just throw some salsa in there to sauce the motherfucker up.

  • PEKPEK 735 Posts
    Aren't carrots considered high in sugar? Some fast food salads have lots of carrots in them which can cause the sugar content to go up maybe?

    Sween -

    Some of the issues stemmin' from sugar concerns naturally occurrin' versus refined - the sugars in carrots aren't as bad healthwise as the over-refined sugars that you'd add to coffee/tea/soft drinks/etc. (those tend to be digested easily and enter the bloodstream rapidly, saturated amount leadin' to carbohydrate production which is then converted to fat/lipids once that hits a ceilin')...

  • Phill_MostPhill_Most 4,594 Posts
    I guess it depends what kind of salad you're getting if you're concerned about how healthy it is... a lot of salads have all kinds of cheeses and meat particles in them, amomg other things. The type I get from Wendy's basically consists of lettuce, tomatoes (the really cute little ones that look like grapes... delicious), cucumbers, carrots and that's about it. Onions too, but I don't eat the onions. So that doesn't sound too bad, does it? Do you think these fast food dope pushers would really be findin' ways to add sugar to the side salads? I wouldn't put it past 'em... i have been getting kinda addicted to them jawns, i can't lie.


  • DjArcadianDjArcadian 3,630 Posts
    It depends. A lot of those salads include chicken, eggs, croutons, etc. The salad dressing is the killer. Just avoid the the croutons and go lite on the dressing and you'll be cool.

  • PEKPEK 735 Posts
    I guess it depends what kind of salad you're getting if you're concerned about how healthy it is... a lot of salads have all kinds of cheeses and meat particles in them, amomg other things. The type I get from Wendy's basically consists of lettuce, tomatoes (the really cute little ones that look like grapes... delicious), cucumbers, carrots and that's about it. Onions too, but I don't eat the onions. So that doesn't sound too bad, does it? Do you think these fast food dope pushers would really be findin' ways to add sugar to the side salads? I wouldn't put it past 'em... i have been getting kinda addicted to them jawns, i can't lie.



    Cherry tomatoes...



    It doesn't sound too bad if you're stingy/goin' light on the dressin', like everyone's mentioned - them jawns are effectively about makin' dinero so if it's about usin' the lowest grade means to make food taste good, includin' refined sugars in dressin', so be it...



    It's why monosodium glutamate (MSG) is so popular in flavored potato chips - adds taste that would be more expensive to duplicate usin' actual real ingredients...



    The problem w/ MSG is that it mimics an active nervous system transmitter (i.e. an analog) -> if you're constantly slammin' your neurons w/ transmitters, there's no time to recuperate and your nerves become fatigued over time, leadin' to potential chronic neurosystem ailments... I guess that Biochemistry degree I picked up (though not in the field whatsoever now) over a decade ago has some utility

  • djannadjanna 1,543 Posts
    Phil,

    I stock up on salads at Trader Joes and bring those for lunch and eat them with dinner at home. TJs is awesome for healthy prepared food and easy to make meals.

    Get your health on!

  • AserAser 2,351 Posts
    better yet, make your own dressing.......it takes very little time at all.



    the golden rule is one part acid (vinegar, lemon juice etc) to three parts oil, but lessen up on the oil if it's something heavy like sesame or a rich extra virgin olive oil.



    I never buy bottled dressing, it tastes so processed.

  • Yo Phill, once you DO watch Super Size Me, you find out that basically eating a fast-food salad w/ dressing is actually more fattening then eating a BigMac.

    Word to your cholesterol in-take.

  • Almost everything on the Mcdonalds menu pretty much has sugar in it. The salad dressing is pretty bad about this. According to medicinenet.com; the "McDonald's Crispy Bacon Ranch Salad has more fat and calories and just as much cholesterol as a Big Mac." Also there chart for Wendy's wasn't all that thrilling

    Wendy's
    Salad Fat (g) Saturated Fat (g) Cholesterol (mg) Fiber (g) Sodium (mg)
    Chicken BLT Salad with Homestyle Garlic Croutons and Honey Mustard Dressing
    Salad Fat (g)= 47.5
    Saturated Fat (g)= 12.5
    Cholesterol (mg)= 85
    Fiber (g)= 4
    Sodium (mg)= 1630

    Mandarin Chicken Salad with Roasted Almost, Crispy Rice Noodles, and Oriental Sesame Dressing
    Salad Fat (g)= 36.5
    Saturated Fat (g)= 4.5
    Cholesterol (mg)= 59.5*
    Fiber (g)= 5
    Sodium (mg)= 1520

    Spring Mix Salad with Honey-Roasted Pecans and House Vinagrette Dressing
    Salad Fat (g)= 44
    Saturated Fat (g)= 10
    Cholesterol (mg)= 30
    Fiber (g)= 7
    Sodium (mg)= 1125

    Taco Supremo Salad with Taco Chips, Sour Cream, and Salsa
    Salad Fat (g)= 34
    Saturated Fat (g)= 15.5
    Cholesterol (mg)= 80
    Fiber (g)= 10
    Sodium (mg)= 1695

    The reason for this is sodium and cholesterol are high because alot of additives are in there for taste value. Alternatively, Wendy's In-door salad bar you can pick and choose your own vegetables, and cut alot of that fat. Personally, I don't trust the freshness of fast food salad bars. I'm sure they're not taking the time to stock with organic vegetables or even to check to see if you're getting chemically processed vegetables. I also won't eat any fast food salad with cheeses piled on top.

    It's a good choice to eat healthy, but DIY is the freshest way.

    - spidey


    i don't want to take this thread off in other directions but isn't sodium supposed to be good for you ? I have read on here from Tony and others that sodium is bad. My father lathers his food with salt and i always tell him lots of sodium is bad for you, which he counters with that it's been found to be good.

    which is it ?

    dave

  • Yeah, watch the dressing.

    but the salads should be ok. I read in Newsweek this week that a lady dropped 20 pounds in a month eating nothing but McDonalds salads and 'healthy' items from their menu, and made her own film about it in response to Super Size Me.

    The other thing is portion size and exercise.



  • they thought i meant served with ice cream.

    isn't that al fresco?

  • batmonbatmon 27,574 Posts
    i don't want to take this thread off in other directions but isn't sodium supposed to be good for you ? I have read on here from Tony and others that sodium is bad. My father lathers his food with salt and i always tell him lots of sodium is bad for you, which he counters with that it's been found to be good.

    which is it ?

    dave

    If you cook w/ salt then you shouldn't have to use it as a condiment. Too much sodium is bad. Plus use Kosher or Sea Salt not table salt.

  • PEKPEK 735 Posts


    i don't want to take this thread off in other directions but isn't sodium supposed to be good for you ? I have read on here from Tony and others that sodium is bad. My father lathers his food with salt and i always tell him lots of sodium is bad for you, which he counters with that it's been found to be good.



    which is it ?



    You do need sodium as part of your diet (as well as iodine which usually is added to salt - a deficiency of iodine will produce gout) to regulate your cellular osmotic balance - HOWEVER, you only need about 1 and 3/4 teaspoons of salt per day (2300 mg max) to maintain this... Excess salt can result in chronic conditions such as hypertension as well as water retention (to balance out the salt solute w/in the body) which in turn can lead to edema...

  • i don't want to take this thread off in other directions but isn't sodium supposed to be good for you ? I have read on here from Tony and others that sodium is bad. My father lathers his food with salt and i always tell him lots of sodium is bad for you, which he counters with that it's been found to be good.

    which is it ?

    dave

    If you cook w/ salt then you shouldn't have to use it as a condiment. Too much sodium is bad. Plus use Kosher or Sea Salt not table salt.

    If you cook without salt and only use it as a condiment, you'll end up using less and tasting more.

  • Yo Phill, once you DO watch Super Size Me, you find out that basically eating a fast-food salad w/ dressing is actually more fattening then eating a BigMac.

    Word to your cholesterol in-take.

    Probably no cholesterol in salad dressing tho. It's likely "good" fat (monounsaturated), versus "bad" fat (saturated and so-called trans-fats or hydrogenated fats). Olive oil is pretty good for you. Stay away from the oreos filled with hydrogenated fat tho. The shit is pretty deadly. Another strike against filling up on processed food.

  • PS: fries are filled with trans-fat. Manufacturers have until next January to declare the trans-fat content of food, so everybody's in a rush to find a replacement. But not many fats have the same characteristics. Ironically they switcehd to trans-fats to get away from saturated fats, but they're finding they are almost equally as bad now.

    http://my.webmd.com/content/article/71/81217.htm

  • batmonbatmon 27,574 Posts
    i don't want to take this thread off in other directions but isn't sodium supposed to be good for you ? I have read on here from Tony and others that sodium is bad. My father lathers his food with salt and i always tell him lots of sodium is bad for you, which he counters with that it's been found to be good.

    which is it ?

    dave

    If you cook w/ salt then you shouldn't have to use it as a condiment. Too much sodium is bad. Plus use Kosher or Sea Salt not table salt.

    If you cook without salt and only use it as a condiment, you'll end up using less and tasting more.

    I was raised in a household that doesnt shower everything w/ salt.
    Alot of products already contain salt/sodium. I prefer to use salt while cookin' and not after, because it breaksdown/dissolves quicker.


  • SPlDEYSPlDEY Vegas 3,239 Posts
    You do need sodium as part of your diet (as well as iodine which usually is added to salt - a deficiency of iodine will produce gout) to regulate your cellular osmotic balance - HOWEVER, you only need about 1 and 3/4 teaspoons of salt per day (2300 mg max) to maintain this... Excess salt can result in chronic conditions such as hypertension as well as water retention (to balance out the salt solute w/in the body) which in turn can lead to edema...

    good answer.

    - spidey

  • bassiebassie 11,710 Posts
    I hardly take a home-made lunch, but when I do, I make it the same time I'm making dinner the night before - that's the best way to make time - you're already in the kitchen, and like, mentioned salad is really quick to prepare. Or have salad more with dinner and make a larger portion to take the extras with you the next day.

    It's easy to have a salad that can be its own meal - adding things like chick peas, romano beans, lentils, radishes, cold pasta, couscous, bulgar, quinoa make it more hearty.

    I don't eat at fast food places, so I have no idea what the salads are like. In the tv commercials though - they don't look too hot - a lot of iceberg lettuce. Ick.

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