You can’t spell salad without S-A-D


Christina Koenig

Kale Caesar Salad from Sweetgreen.

Imagine this: You walk into a restaurant after a long day, ready to treat yourself with a delicious but healthy meal. A salad seems like the perfect option. At only 180 calories, the seasonal greens salad stands out to you with its “vine-ripened tomatoes” nestled carefully within fresh lettuce ( Unfortunately, the salad arrives as a pile of slightly wilted lettuce with approximately two tomatoes, and it tastes more or less like grass. You pour the container of dressing on top and finish the meal, only to discover you’ve just added 130 more calories, almost the same value as the actual salad. So much for eating healthy.

I’ve always thought that salad is overrated and have never understood its appeal. I try to eat healthy, but why would I choose to eat a bowl of leaves when I could choose something equally healthy and better tasting, like a sandwich or soup? Even stranger is how people are willing to dish out $8-15 on a meal in trendy salad chains that are popping up around the country.

According to, many of these chains convince their patrons to shell out money by “marketing their product as a component of an aspirational, Instagrammable lifestyle.” Yet how can these restaurants promise such an ideal life when their salads don’t always provide real health benefits?

Many people only eat salad with dressing to boost the flavor of lettuce. They believe they’re getting a veggie-filled, nutritious meal, but in reality they’re consuming unhealthy levels of saturated fat, sodium, and sugar found in the dressing (Harvard Health). In some cases, the dressing can almost double the caloric value of a seemingly healthy meal.

Besides the fact that salads don’t always provide their supposed benefits, some ingredients in salads can actually harm your health. According to, raw vegetables are one of the main carriers of foodborne illnesses, and greens like lettuce are difficult to wash effectively. With the recent E. coli outbreak in romaine lettuce, it’s not worth risking your health on an overpriced meal. Additionally, due to the current government shutdown, the FDA has stopped routine food facility inspections that check for “unclean conditions, bug infestations and harmful contaminations” according to The Hill. These factors might make you hesitate before choosing to eat a salad.

You may be asking, “What am I supposed to eat now?” Fortunately, many salad shops and other restaurants offer other healthy options that tend to cost less than their salads. B. Good in Beverly offers sandwiches and wraps with vegetarian options. Their West Side chicken sandwich is only 470 calories, contains 5.1 grams of fiber, and 34.5 grams of protein. It also only costs $7.49, whereas the least expensive salad is $8.49 ( You might be getting a few more calories, but they are balanced out with vitamins and nutrients.

If you really want a salad, there’s always the option of making one yourself. There are numerous recipes online, and most produce costs less than $5 a pound ( You can also make your own dressing, which allows you to control the calories that go into the salad.

The next time you receive a less than ideal salad, just know that you don’t have to sacrifice your money for the sake of being trendy. There are always other healthy options out there, and besides, who actually likes lettuce anyway?


Works Cited:

Harvard Health Publishing. “Is Your Salad Dressing Hurting Your Healthy Diet?” Harvard Health Blog. Accessed January 15, 2019.

Held, Lisa Elaine. “How Chains Like Sweetgreen Convinced People to Pay $15 for Salad.” Eater. March 15, 2018. Accessed January 15, 2019.

“Panera Bread Prices.” Fast Food Menu Prices. Accessed January 15, 2019.

“Publications.” Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association. Accessed January 15, 2019.

Skwarecki, Beth. “Here’s What’s Wrong With Romaine Lettuce.” Vitals. November 29, 2018. Accessed January 15, 2019.

“To Go From Beverly.” B.GOOD – Just Order. Accessed January 15, 2019.