Sometimes, a trip to the salad bar or ordering a salad at a restaurant can actually be worse than eating a cheeseburger. While the idea of eating a plateful of raw salad leaves and veggies can be very satisfying, these salads are actually sabotaging your diet efforts if they are filled with creamy, full fat and fried ingredients that are nothing but empty calories and saturated fat.Just two tablespoons of your average Thousand Island or Caesar salad dressing contain approximately 14 grams of fat! (1g of Fat = 9 calories, you can do the math). And if you do happen to buy the low-fat and fat-free dressings from store, they're not going to help much. In almost all cases, when fat is reduced another agent is added to compensate for great taste. That substitue is usually sugar. Whether it's eating at home or in a restaurant, here's how to be smart about it:
- Choose a darker base
Replace lettuce with spinach, baby spinach, kale or arugula
- Load up on the veggies
Make your salad as colorful as possible. Bell peppers, cucumber, carrot, cherry tomatoes, onions, green beans are very low in calories and add some great crunch to salads. Limit the corn and beetroots though.
Skip the bacon, fried chicken and deli processed meats for leaner meats like chicken breast, salmon, tofu, edamame, chickpea, black beans, kidney beans. Beans are a great and delicious source of protein.
- Limit the fat
Cheese is fat. As simple as that. Some cheeses are good sources of protein, but most are not. However, if you must, sprinkle some on top.
- Dressing your salad
Be really wise here. If dining out, then ask for dressing on the side and perhaps drizzle 1/4th of the dressing on your entire salad or dip your fork in the dressing slightly. I suggest you ask for some lime juice and extra virgin olive oil and black pepper (all separate) and drizzle some on top yourself.If eating at home, its much wiser to make your own salad dressing than wasting your money and calories on store bought ones.Here’s one of my favorite dressing recipes – always works!
Ingredients:1 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil1 tbsp Balsamic or Red wine vinegar½ tbsp limejuice1 tsp oregano Salt and pepper to taste Drizzle over your salad, mix it up and munch away!
Get Started with Fitness: