Low in calories but loaded with fiber and vitamins, salads are one of the healthiest meals you can have. Well, that is if you make the right choices. Adding too many high-calorie toppings can actually cause you to gain weight, so keep these tips in mind the next time you build yourself a salad.
- Add Fresh Fruit Instead of Dried - Dried cranberries and raisins are popular salad toppings. But if you opt for fresh fruit instead, you'll be getting more fiber, less sugar, and more crunch, which translates to a healthier, more filling salad.
- Use Oil & Vinegar Instead of Creamy Dressings - Oil and vinegar or vinaigrette are the way to go when it comes to flavoring your greens. The olive oil is a healthy fat, while cream-based dressings tend to be higher in saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium. If you really want to go low-calorie, squeeze a fresh lemon on your salad instead.
- Choose Raw Nuts Over the Sugar-Coated Ones - The salad bar I go to for lunch has a whole array of nuts to choose from, but I always go for raw walnuts or sliced raw almonds. Avoid nuts that are salted to cut out sodium, and also skip over the ones that are sugar-coated. Be sure to just sprinkle on a few - even though nuts are a source of healthy fats, they're also high in calories.
- Add Lean Protein - Grilled chicken, baked tofu, beans, tuna, and boiled eggs are great sources of lean protein. They're much healthier than fried or battered meats, cheese, or tuna or chicken salads covered in mayonnaise. Don't forget to measure out your protein to avoid overdoing it on the calorie front.
- Go Mostly Raw - Stick to raw veggies like dark leafy greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, broccoli, and carrots. I know there are tons of other options at most salad bars like marinated veggies, pasta salads, and other pre-made dishes, but they can add tons of calories, fat, sugar, and sodium. It's OK to add a bit of these flavorful choices, but make sure your container is filled with mostly raw veggies.
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