Salad lives a double life. When it’s being good it fills us up so we eat fewer calories at dinner, while adding a vitamin punch in every bite. Dark greens like spinach add extra nutrition, and you can even sneak some shredded Swiss chard or kale in for extra potassium. It’s the perfect vitamin and mineral dense food. No one doubts the extra punch of vitamins (and slight feeling of smugness) that you get when eating this virtuous treat. All salads start off as a healthy shopping trip that’s stored in your crisper drawer.
However, when a good salad goes bad it really doesn’t hold back. Some restaurant salads can be so loaded with calories that eating it uses up your whole day’s allotment of calories, and some are even higher than that! (Check out Hungry Girl for more info on salads to avoid.)
To keep your salad on the straight and narrow, there are a few things to keep in mind. First off don’t pile on the cheese. It’s the first step in the wrong direction. I’m not suggesting no cheese, just be a little stingy with high fat cheeses. Try a sprinkle of goat or feta cheese instead of a hunk of blue. Look for 50% fat cheddar, and use a little of it grated to dress up your salad.
Don’t load up on croutons, bacon bits, or smother your salad with high fat dressings like ranch, blue cheese, or thousand island. Instead try using healthy toasted nuts or sunflower seeds for crunch. And try your hand at making your own dressings. It’s amazingly easy. You can even sneak in some homemade ranch or blue cheese made with no preservatives, and low fat ingredients. A good salad deserves to taste great!
Everyday Good for You Dressings
Apricot Salad Dressing
Fresh Tarragon Dressing
Lemon Honey Vinaigrette
Poppy Seed Dressing
Lemon Mustard Vinaigrette
Creamy Cilantro Dill – near the bottom of the page
Impress Your Friends Fancy Dressings
Help a Bad Dressing Go Good