7 Salad Toppings to Avoid

Reviewed by: Erica Grandjean, APD, BNutr&Diet

A fresh salad sounds like an inherently healthy option, right? Well, not always.

Lettuce leaves can be a canvas for rich, calorie-laden ingredients, which will lead to exceeding your daily calorie limit if you’re not careful.

A 300g serving of a classic shop-bought Caesar salad contains a whopping 490 calories, whereas a simple Greek salad with a light vinaigrette comes in at 300 calories for the same portion size.

Calories aside, the nutritional value of salad toppings is another factor worth considering.

Here, we’ve broken down what are the worst offenders when it comes to high calories and low nutritional value – and what are some of the better options!

7 salad toppings to avoid

  1. Crunchy bacon bits
  2. Creamy dressing
  3. Croutons and tortilla chips
  4. Candied nuts
  5. Fried chicken
  6. Too much dried fruit
  7. Blue cheese

7 salad toppings to embrace

  1. Boiled eggs
  2. Grilled chicken
  3. Small sprinkling of pumpkin or sunflower seeds
  4. Light oil-based vinaigrette
  5. Roasted tomatoes
  6. Feta
  7. Dollop of low-fat Greek yoghurt

Free 12WBT Recipe: Chicken Rice Bowl


If you’re looking for a healthy, quick lunch recipe that packs a flavour punch, try this chicken bowl. It’s got the throw-it-all-in appeal of a salad with the added carb benefits of rice:

For more 12WBT recipes like this, click this link to sign up today and unlock 1000+ delicious and nutritious recipes at the click of a button.

  • Serves 2
  • 10 mins prep time
  • 5 mins cooking time
  • 299 calories per serve


  • 200g lean chicken breast, cut into long strips
  • 2 teaspoons Fajita Spice Mix (2g)
  • 1g olive oil spray
  • 100g brown rice, cooked
  • 40g baby spinach
  • 1/2 red onion (73g), finely sliced
  • 125g can sweetcorn, drained (85g)
  • 1 red capsicum (155g), chopped
  • 1/3 cup canned red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 fresh lime (49g), cut into wedges


  1. Place chicken in a medium snap-lock bag and add spice mix. Seal bag and shake to coat. Spray a non-stick frying pan with oil and heat over medium heat.
  2. Cook chicken for 2 minutes each side or until cooked through. Transfer to a plate and set aside to cool slightly.
  3. Divide rice, spinach, onion, corn, capsicum and beans between bowls. Cut chicken into pieces and add to bowls.
  4. Serve with lime wedges to squeeze over.

Also read: 7 Snacks You Need to Give Up Right Now

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