Savvy Salads: Build A Nutritious Meal

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Grilled Chicken Florentine Salad from Macaroni Grill:  1,020 calories.  Boneless Buffalo Chicken Salad from Chili’s:  1,070 calories.  Carolina Chicken Salad from Ruby Tuesdays:  1,129 calories.  And the best one…Waldorf Chicken Salad With Blue Cheese from California Pizza Company:  1,600 calories!  Can you believe this???  How crazy are these statistics?  SALADS?!?!  Salads that have as many calories as I eat in an entire day.  An entire day!  Salads, unfortunately, are no longer the easy healthy choice.  Restaurants have totally destroyed a bowl of vegetables and turned it into a nasty, calorie bomb of a monster.  It’s sad really.  Making a salad 1,600 calories.  I mean really, is necessary?  No, I don’t think so.

UMD13

ShavedAsparagusSalad1 Salads should be that easy healthy meal.  The one you don’t have to worry about hidden calories or fat.  They should be an enjoyable, filling and nutritious meal.  And lower calorie salads shouldn’t be thought of as that boring, bland bowl of rabbit food.  Salads can be the best of both worlds!  Full of flavor and texture.  Sprinkled with fun and tasty toppings!  Salads can be delicious and nutritious.  Just follow my salad making rules:

  • Make sure you always have 3-4 different colors in your salad.  The more colors, the more nutrients!  Green lettuce, orange carrots, red beets, yellow peppers, black olives, purple onions, white mushrooms…you get the point.  Lots and lots of color.
  • Always add a protein.  Salads can leave you feeling hungry quick if you don’t add a good source of lean protein.  Try beans, nuts, tofu, hard boiled eggs or even fish or poultry (if you’re not a vegetarian!).
  • Add in some healthy fats.  Avocado, nuts, flax seeds or chia seeds are a great source of healthy fats.  Adding items like these can keep you feel fuller longer.  Fat takes slightly longer to digest which is why you’re fuller longer!
  • Put a limit on your toppings.  Most of those salads listed above are high in calories because they have tons of high calorie toppings.  To keep your salad in check, limit your toppings to 3-4 higher calorie items and stay within a small portion size.  Dressing, maybe some chickpeas, diced avocado and maybe dried fruit – four toppings is plenty!
  • Watch out for dressings.  Most people are aware that a lot of salad calories comes from high fat creamy dressings.  And they’d be right!  Limit dressings to about 2 tbsp.  Measure it out, ask for dressing on the side or ask for low-fat or fat-free versions of your favorite.

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Need some fun salad ideas?  Try creating your favorite restaurant salads at home.  Or give a few of my favorite recipes a try!  They’re all pretty delicious and easy to make.  I hope you enjoy them!

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