Most people think "all salads" are healthy, but the truth is you can build a salad that has many calories more than what you had ever expected! The great thing is that if you know what items to choose on your salad it can be a great, nutritious and filling option for any meal or side dish.
Must knows include:
- Start out with a smaller plate-silly I know, but it won't hold as much as a larger plate. Less food equals less calories
- Start with a good nutrient rich dark green leafy vegetable like spinach, romaine, or endive.
- Including vegetables (like cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, and broccoli) on your salad will load it with a variety of nutrients including beta-carotene, vitamins A and C, potassium, folic acid and fiber.
- Use legumes, beans, lean meats like chicken, turkey, or fish for a good protein source
- Watch out for the following options that provide little nutrition and/or lots of calories: croutons, fried meats, candied nuts, chow mein noodles, seeds, bacon, cheese, pastas/potato/macaroni salads (found at most salad bar) and creamy salad dressings.
Restaurants are often playing up the word 'salad' hoping consumers will opt for the 'healthy' choice even if it has a lot of calories. Sure the salads sound good, but not worth the calories! Take some of the Applebee's salad options for instance: the Regular Crispy Shrimp Caesar Salad, Regular Oriental Chicken Salad, Regular Apple Walnut Chicken Salad, Regular Sante Fe Chicken Salad all have over 1,000 calories! Instead opt for the 1/2 portion size w/o dressing to cut the calories in half, choose one of the Weight Watcher salads (for less than 500 calories), or build your own salad based upon the must knows above.
Whether you are at home, a salad bar, or a restaurant be wise in the selections you make for your salads. They could end up being more than you bargained for in calories!