Vegetable salads can be great nutritious fare because they are often raw or minimally processed. The nutrient content is generally high because the bulk ingredients are typically minimally altered from the state in which they were farmed. However, depending on the establishment you frequent, not all salads are created equally.

If you’ve ever made a salad in your life you know that the moment you cut or tear a lettuce leaf you simultaneously initiate a ticking time bomb of viability. The longer you wait to ingest said leaf the more deterioration you invite and the less original nutrients you’ll receive due to the decaying process.

If you frequent a chain restaurant, most likely some part (or all) of your salad arrived on a truck, pre-assembled in a bag. All the restaurant does is open the bag, arrange on your plate and send it out to you. This means that that vegetables used were cleaned, diced, and possibly sprayed with chemicals (to increase shelf life) off site (possibly out of state) days before you even realized you wanted a salad. The time span between cutting/tearing and eating combined with the heavy processing, accompanied often by mountains of lugubrious calorically dense and nutritionally sparse dressing, is perhaps not the healthiest delivery of nutrients.

So when you go out to any eating establishment first ask yourself if you think the ingredients in your salad are fresh (not frozen), and assembled that day on premises and then don’t be afraid to ask the question out loud once you’ve made your decision. Any restaurant of quality will quickly and specifically affirm your inquiry and you’ll more than likely experience the difference on both you pallet and waist line.