The No. 6 Worst Choice: Bacon Bits
The upside of bacon bits? “That perfect salty, smoky flavor burst for your salad,” admits Christy Wilson, RD, nutrition counselor at University of Arizona Campus Health Service and owner of ChristyWilsonNutrition.com. Plus, they have three grams of protein per tablespoon. "But their salt and concentrated calorie content make them a bust,” she says.
Some other things to be aware of: Many bacon bits on salad bars are considered "imitation," made from textured soy flour, so you have to consider the added salt and sugar. "Real” bacon bits, however, are made with processed meat that has either been cured, salted or smoked. Wilson says this is a problem because “there is evidence that frequent intake of highly processed meats like bacon can lead to blood vessel damage and increase risk of stroke and cancer.” Either way, they’re not winning any nutrition prizes.
Real Bacon Bits Nutritional Info: 35 calories and 2 grams of fat per tablespoon.
Imitation Bacon Bits Nutritional Info: 30 calories and 1.5 grams of fat per tablespoon.
Read more: 8 Innovative Salad Recipes, No Lettuce Needed