How healthy are bagged salads? We toss the pros and cons of ready-made salad mixes.
Only 7 per cent of adults eat enough vegies — but the good news is that with the rise of bagged salads, it’s never been easier to lift your intake of health-giving greens. They’re portioned and often washed and ready to eat — so here’s how you can embrace the best they have to offer.
What’s in the crisper?
Available in single-serve, double-serve or larger family-sized packs, the main bagged salad selections are:
Rocket, spinach, mesclun, iceberg lettuce, butter lettuce… these plain and simple greens are all winning choices, offering gut-loving fibre and a mixture of essential vitamins and minerals.
The simple combo of cabbage and carrot is available, but you can also buy slaw mixes with nutritious additions such as beetroot, broccoli, celery, corn, kale and spring onion. Some come with a dressing sachet.
With a salad kit, all the trimmings are at your fingertips. Not only do the kits include a blend of leaves, other veg and a salad dressing, they can also come with toppers such as grains, noodles, croutons, cheese, nuts and seeds.
Are there any salad no-no’s?
If you’re shopping for a bagged salad, you’re doing a great thing for your health. Nonetheless, be mindful of the sodium content. While vegies contain next to no sodium, a salad‘s sodium content can increase drastically when dressing, noodles, cheese and croutons are added. So look for bagged salads with less than 400mg sodium per serve — the less, the better.
Here are five easy ways to enjoy bagged salad:
➜ Cook up a bag of baby spinach for a toast, eggs and mushrooms brekkie.
➜ Dress a bag of fine-cut coleslaw with natural yoghurt and lemon juice to pair with tacos.
➜ Throw some sprouts into a stir-fry made of beef, tofu and vegies.
➜ Whip up a creative oriental salad with an Asian salad kit and salmon or chicken.
➜ Create a tasty pesto by blitzing a bag of rocket with extra virgin olive oil, parmesan cheese and some pine nuts.
Transform your bagged salads into delicious, healthy meals with these recipes:
- Barbecued salmon and kalesaw with honey and lime dressing
- Pesto chicken, pepita and rocket salad
- Open beef and bean burgers
- Rainbow prawn salad with wasabi dressing
- Minty lamb kofta with zesty salad