Choosing a salad from the supermarket, restaurant or cafe might not be as healthy as you think, according to a new survey by Consensus Action on Salt & Health (CASH). They surveyed 650 ready to eat salads available to purchase from supermarkets, cafes and fast food restaurants and discovered nearly three quarters contained more salt than a packet of crisps.
Even salads created to target the health conscious can contain higher levels of salt than you might expect, such as the Pizza Express ‘Leggera Salmon Salad’ which contains 2.4g salt per serving, which is 40% of our maximum recommended intake.
Sonia Pombo, a nutritionist from CASH explained “Say the word ‘salad’ and you tend to imagine a bowl of healthy stuff nestled amongst some leaves, but that’s not accurate. Whilst salad itself is both healthy and tasty, food manufacturers and restaurants continue to add unnecessary salt to the dish, which not only alters the taste and makes you feel bloated, but more seriously, can lead to high blood pressure – the main cause of strokes and heart attacks.”.
One way that you can choose healthier and lower salt salads is with the help of FoodSwitch, a free app which is available for smartphones. Simply scan a product’s barcode and the app will tell you whether the product has a red, amber or green ranking in terms of fat, saturates, sugar and salt per 100g.
Other tips to help you make healthier salad choices include:
- Avoid salty tasting food: cheese, capers, anchovies etc will all add to your overall salt intake.
- Keep an eye on portion sizes: your ‘portion’ may only be half the packet, whereas you might be inclined to eat the whole one!
- Either leave the salad dressing off your salad or make sure you choose a low salt version. Or you can make your own dressing with olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice.
- Make your own salads and add herbs and unsalted beans, pulses, nuts and seeds for added flavour and interest.
Find out more about downloading the FoodSwitch app from their website.