Salad Bar Beware

Salad Bar

Ever sit down and eat a 2000 calorie salad? It is easy to do, unless one pays attention closely. It is part of the effort to really improve a diet on a long term basis to add more vegetables to the diet each day. The habit of even having them in the house is an important part of this. When dining out, this effort is equally important. Salad is the obvious choice, when dining out, and in some restaurants are your only real healthy choice (wing house anyone?) Beware, though, the dangers of the salad bar, or even ordering salads off the menu, as they can hold some difficult obstacles to health.

Country salads or chef salads on a menu are often packed with extra carbs, high calorie cheeses and protein choices. A garden salad with added grilled chicken or fish is often a much better choice. Many restaurants will do this even if it is not stated as such on the menu.

Proteins, toppings, and salad dressings are the main health killers on a salad bar, or in ordered salads. Fried chicken, steak, and prepared salads such as tuna salad, pasta salad, or potato salad carry big calorie loads and pack carbs and fat onto the salad plate. Seared tuna or chicken breast is a much better choice, adding no carbs and adding a big protein punch, making the salad more substantial and satisfying.

Toppings such as cheeses can add big caloric loads as well, although it depends on what varieties, as cottage cheese is a much lower fat choice than cheddar, swiss, or blue cheese and adds a nice satisfying protein punch. Fried toppings such as chow mein noodles or tortilla chips also add un-necessary carbs or fats to the salad.

Truth is, adding flavor and crunch to a lackluster salad makes it more appealing. Crunch is best added with some shredded carrot or jicama, or some sunflower seeds or nuts. Flavor is best added with a vinaigrette, and best case there is to dress it with vinegar and oil so it is a known quantity. Salad is a great way to add veggies to the day.


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MRC of Vancouver started me going in my attempt to loose 30 years of weight gain!! I have been using their program for about 18 months and have actually lost 30 pounds. I have changed the way I eat. I've learned what foods are best for ME. By analyzing my DNA and hormones, they helped me learn to eat what was right for me. I have "tweeked" my purchases and preparation of food to make eating healthy and still fun for me. I eat lots of veggies and salads and include a healthy diet of protein. These are very satisfying. Do I "cheat" now and then? Yes, but I don't like how I feel after eating sugar and lots of carbs so I return to my good foods quickly and continue to see my weight drop. I walk my little dog four times a day and have a part-time job that allows me a lot of movement. I feel so healthy and wonderful. It's easy to continue to eat and live a more healthy lifestyle! When I confessed about eating the wrong "foods", the gals simply encouraged me and gave me fresh ideas to satisfy my taste buds. I always felt I could be honest during my consultations with no fear of being lectured! I plan to continue until I reach my desired weight. I expect to reach my goal by 2017. After I reach my weight goal, I plan to remain in good health with my new found healthy way of eating the calories I need to maintain my proper weight. My Dr. is very pleased at my progress. She wondered how I have lost 30 pounds.

— Diane P. Heesch Nims-Smith

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