Salad is an easy and fresh way to add vegetables into a daily diet. It has the potential, out of all of the options, to pack the biggest nutritional punch. It also has the potential of packing the biggest carb-and-fat load, if care is not taken. When dining out, salads frequently are the only healthy option on the menu. It is a simple case of let the buyer beware, as knowing what the pitfalls of the salad world are can make salad a perfect, easy, and frequent choice for the busy but health conscious person.
There are three big categories of dangers that salads can hold for the unwary. Protein toppings are the first of the dangers. Fried meats and cheese added to the top of an otherwise healthy salad can outweigh any health that the salad may have provided. Lower fat cheeses such as feta or cottage cheese can be used instead of cheddar or Swiss to get more satisfaction out of a salad. Lower fat proteins such as seared fish or grilled chicken can easily replace the fried chicken. Hundreds, if not thousands of calories can be packed onto innocent salad greens, adding fat and carbs to the table.
Other toppings like chow mein noodles and tortilla chips add another carb and fat load, and are pretty much completely un-necessary. They can easily be replaced with crunchy veggies such as celery, jicama or carrots, or sunflower seeds or nuts to get some crunch.
Salad dressings are a big hidden danger. Creamy dressings are made with mayonnaise and often sugar. Vinegar and oil are the easiest solution, although choosing a vinaigrette over creamy dressing is a good place to start. Avoid excessive cheese or creamy salad dressings, and fried proteins or toppings on top, and the salad can really add some easy, fresh, satisfying vegetables to one's daily diet.
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