Are your salads making you fat? It is not entirely impossible to believe. Just when you think you have this healthy eating thing down to a science you realize that after eating like a rabbit, you are still craving “energy” in the mid-afternoon hours and your weight hasn’t really changed much since you last checked. What gives?
One must overcome the idea that salads have to be dressed in order for them to be delicious. You must first begin by undressing your salad and giving it more nutritional value with foods that are packed with energy and flavor. You can start by purging all those creamy dressings that are taking up space in your fridge, that’s your culprit right there. Sorry mega companies who sell the creamy fatty dressings, I can’t support you on this one. It is nearly impossible to eat only the recommended serving of two tablespoons, once you start to drizzle it on, who knows how much dressing you’re really eating. I challenge you to measure next time you try to “drizzle” two tablespoons of creamy fatty dressing onto your salad.
Anyway, let’s first figure out how we dress our salads for success:
Typical salad ingredients–as much as you want: Lettuce, Tomatoes, Carrots, Cucumber, Celery, and maybe even some Mushrooms, yum, delicious.
Toppings: ¼ cup Shredded cheddar cheese, *6 Croutons
Dressing: 2 tablespoons of creamy ranch
*based on only one brand, still, who uses only six, who counts only six croutons?
Nutritional Value of this salad: Almost 300 calories and over 27 grams of fat, the only protein (16g) comes from the cheese. No way? Yes way. I did the math. Obviously there are many nutrients in this meal that are really good for you but wouldn’t you rather put those extra calories and extra fat into something more fun?
Here’s my salad redo, with a fancier dress and much cooler toppings to please the palate:
Choose your veggies:
- Hearts of romaine lettuce and baby spinach—lots!
- Carrots—baby, shredded, sliced, diced—it really doesn’t matter.
- Bell Peppers—your choice in colors.
- Tomatoes – they can be cherry, grape, yellow, orange or red—your choice here too!
- Any veggies you want to add here is fine
- Isn’t this fun, you get to decorate your meal—too cool!
Want to add protein?
Choose one: 2 hard-boiled egg whites OR about 3 ounces (handful) leftover chicken, beef, pork, or fish—which I’m sure was lean 😉 OR small can of tuna packed in water OR ½ cup beans such as garbanzo or kidney beans.
If you really like cheese in your salad try one made with part skim milk such as mozzarella or a fat free Feta cheese.
Now choose your toppings:
½ Granny Smith Apple– diced sliced or anyway you like it OR mandarin orange slices OR Berries, why not? Try it out, this is your meal. Don’t have any fresh fruit? Try raisins, craisins, dried cherries, fig..all good for you but watch out for added sugars.
1/8 cup chopped Walnuts. Walnuts are a great source of Omega-3. (Source: Worlds Healthiest Foods)
OK go ahead, give it a little outfit:
1 TBS Olive oil mixed with 1TBS Lemon or Lime Juice—that’s all the dressing up this salad will need.
Yes olive oil and walnuts have fat, but it’s good fat. Tim Moore from the Vitaminstuff shares great tips about olive oil and its nutritional values. The tangy and crunch taste of the apple or the sweet, citrus from the mandarin is a pleasant surprise to the palate as are the walnuts and dried fruits.
Toss it all together and voila! You have yourself a well dressed salad. When you are done with this meal you will be satisfied, for a while. Enjoy and please, share your salad re-do with us.