Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Secrets to Salad Success

I'll just have a salad...the famous words of the "healthy eater," or so they think. Many people aren't aware of the fact that salads can be the downfall of a healthy diet. The main problems?
-fat filled dressing (creamy dressings can add 200-300 extra calories to your salad)
-croutons, a 1/2 cup of these? about 100 extra calories.
-cheese (this is a KILLER, usually around 225 calories for a 1/2 cup)
-salad bars in general. They can demolish portion control and calorie control...(think about it...potato salads, fat-filled pasta salads, nuts, meats, etc. etc. etc...all slathered in fatty dressing. Yikes!)

The solution? Give your salad a healthy makeover
-Start off with lots of leafy greens...the good ones! Ditch the iceberg, and go for the dark greens such as Romaine & Spinach. These greens contain folic acid, and 1 cup is only 15-20 calories.
-LOAD up on the lo-cal veggies. Some good examples are tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, carrots, onions, beets, mushrooms, radish, broccoli, and cauliflower. Stay away from ones covered in mayo, marinades, or dressings of any sort.
-Choose one or two Lean Proteins. YES, lean protein is good! However, if you load up on tons of proteins you'll be adding tons of calories. Go for grilled chicken, low-fat cottage cheese, shrimp, kidney beans, or chickpeas. As with the veggies, avoid anything covered in a heavy sauce, fried, crispy, or covered in mayo.
-Choose only ONE high calorie item. (and this is only if you'd dying for it...)
These includes things such as; croutons, cheese, nuts, raisins, avocado, granola, nuts, etc. Make sure you're not going crazy with your extra item. 1/4 a cup of these items usually adds anywhere from 150-300 calories!
-EASY on the dressing! This is the major downfall, so beware. If possible go for a low fat, low calorie option. If this isn't possible get your dressing on the side and use as small amount as possible.

Salads can be great for you. If you know how to eat them correctly! If you are ordering at a restaurant don't be afraid to ask them to specialize your salad for you. Hold the cheese, no croutons, dressing on the get the picture!