If you are tracking your calorie intake, or you are in a calorie deficit in order to lose weight, then you are likely very careful about what you eat, and what you don’t eat.
It can be surprising for many to find out how much calories are in various foods.
Foods you assume are typically healthy can have more calories than you realize. One of these foods that are not as healthy as they appear are caesar salads.
But it’s a salad, right? It’s got to be healthy!
You could be wrong. Caesar salads have a range of ingredients that can soon add up the calories and become unhealthy.
So, with that in mind, let’s take a look at the ingredients and how many calories are in a caesar salad.
What Does A Caesar Salad Consist Of?
A caesar salad is typically made up of lettuce, mayonnaise, parmesan, croutons, garlic, cheese, chicken, egg, romaine lettuce, lemon, olive oil, black pepper, and a little bit of dijon mustard.
Most caesar salads are prepared with the lettuce on the bottom, topped with chicken breast and croutons, and smothered in the caesar dressing with a bit of parmesan on the top.
Due to the sheer amount of ingredients on this salad, it can be calorific, and not as healthy as you may think.
How Many Calories In A Caesar Salad?
In a typical caesar salad, there are around 480 calories in one serving, along with 24 grams of fat, 39 grams of protein, and 17 grams of carbohydrates.
The calories alone equate to around 22% of your recommended daily amount if you eat 2000 calories per day!
The actual calories and nutritional information depends on where you get the caesar salad from. This can vary depending on the restaurant or establishment.
Even without the chicken, which most places add on top, a caesar salad can still be over 480 calories.
According to Nutritionix, the caesar dressing alone can amount to nearly 300 calories by itself, with the lettuce only adding 37 calories, croutons adding around 86 calories, and the parmesan cheese adding around 65 calories per serving.
Due to the dressing, croutons, cheese and protein, this salad can also be high in sodium, which in turn can make you gain weight.
Even as a side salad, a caesar salad can still amount to around 362 calories, 26 grams of fat, and 913 mg of sodium!
How Many Calories In A Caesar Salad Dressing?
The Caesar Salad dressing is probably the biggest issue with a caesar salad. Without that, you’re simply left with chicken, lettuce, a few croutons and some cheese, which will not amount to too many calories.
The dressing is high in fat, high in calories and much creamier due to the oil, mayonnaise, cheese and other ingredients that make it so tasty.
Salad dressings that are creamier tend to be higher in fat and calories, with around 120 calories and 12g of fat per 2 tablespoons alone. This is double the calories of a vinaigrette dressing.
For instance, Marie’s Caesar Dressing is a popular option for many. This caesar salad dressing has around 170 calories per serving, which is two tablespoons.
In two tablespoons of this dressing, there is also 19g of fat, and 3.5 g of saturated fat. This amounts to around 24% and 18% of your recommended daily intake respectively.
This dressing also has around 160 mg of sodium, which can also contribute to weight gain. Remember, this is only two tablespoons.
If you are ordering a caesar salad at a restaurant or cafe, you are likely getting a lot more dressing on your food than two tablespoons.
Is A Caesar Salad Healthy?
If you are going out to eat with friends, then you may think that opting for a salad option such as a caesar salad is a much healthier option. In reality, a caesar salad is not a healthy option.
Due to the high amount of saturated fat, low protein content, high calorie content, this salad is not a healthy choice for you.
Particularly if you are opting for a caesar salad from a restaurant with crispy chicken, these salads can easily become upwards of 800 calories in total.
If you are trying to lose weight, or you are in a calorie deficit and want a healthier salad option, then check out the section below.
Healthier Alternatives To Caesar Salad
You can fit a caesar salad, if you love them, into a healthy eating plan. You just have to make a few adjustments. For instance, you will need a less calorific salad dressing, and you will have to swap out some ingredients.
You can add more vegetables instead of breaded chicken to make the salad a bit more filling. Add colorful veggies such as red onions, collard greens, kale, and peppers to make it more inviting.
Instead of white bread croutons, which offer no nutritional value and are simply carbohydrates, choose whole wheat croutons, or go without them! You should also cut back on the oil and creamy dressing.
Use less olive oil as the dressing as this can be high in fat, and choose a lighter caesar dressing if you miss that caesar flavor.
You will also want to omit the parmesan cheese, as this can contribute to weight gain. It is far better to eat a salad that is loaded with greens and veggies, with a vinaigrette dressing than a dressing with a creamy, thicker texture.
To summarize, a simple Caesar salad can have a whopping 480 calories at least, without any chicken or toppings. It is not a great choice if you are trying to watch your calorie intake, or lose weight.
Due to the high fat content, saturated fats, cheese, croutons and heavy dressing, caesar salad is not the healthiest option, even though it is a salad!
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