Ask anyone what to eat when trying to be healthier and one of the first things they will say is salad. And, they’re right; it can be a fantastic choice. Salad provides a large volume of food for, usually, a small amount of calories.
In fact, to equal the calories in a small order of French fries you would need to eat more than 40 cups of lettuce. Along with being low in calories, salads tend to be high in many vitamins and minerals, depending on the ingredients.
But this slim-down staple may not be as smart of a choice as you think. It is the other ingredients in a salad that can make them real diet busters.
In fact, some have more fat and calories than a fast-food sandwich and fries combined. Quite often, it is the salad dressing kicking up the fat and calories since they are mostly oil.
Along with the dressing, you also want to look out for ingredients like bacon, cheese, fried or pecan-crusted chicken, candied or sugared nuts and croutons, crispy noodles or tortilla strips. These may seem innocent when surrounded by leafy greens, but they really tack on the calories.
So what can you do? Here are four easy workarounds that will really cut back on the calories in your salad.
- Opt for proteins like grilled chicken or shrimp, edamame, beans or tofu
- Use low-fat cheese
- When out, ask that they leave off the bacon, croutons and other high-calorie items
- And choose a low fat or fat-free dressing ““ keep it ON THE SIDE
Keeping the salad dressing on the side can really cut back on how much you end up using. To take it even further, dip your fork into the dressing before you get your next bite of salad instead of dipping the bite. This ensures every forkful has flavor and you will be shocked at how little salad dressing you end up using at the end of the meal.
Salads can include all kinds of veggies, beans and even fruit making it easy to avoid getting bored with your meal. If you’re looking for ways to add more taste to your salad, try adding green onion or maybe a few olives for a salty element. You could also include a small amount of a strong cheese, such as Parmesan, which is lower in fat and calories than some others. Mixing in fresh herbs like basil or parsley with your salad greens can also add a punch of flavor.
Nuts and seeds can be a great addition; just keep an eye on the portion you include and stay away from the candy-coated ones.