If you are looking to change your diet to improve your health and considering adding salads to your meals, let me warn you that it isn’t that simple.
I wish it were.
If you believe in the 80/20 rule then you believe that you should eat nutritious foods 80 percent of the time and allow yourself to indulge a little the other 20 percent of the time.
So, it’s important to remember what you put in and on your salad can sabotage your good intentions.
The salad base
Lettuce comes in a variety of kinds including Romaine, Boston, Iceberg, red leaf and bibb. For the most part these are totally healthy, low in calories and can be high in iron when adding colorful spinach or other leaves to the mix.
Your salad fixings
Adding cheese adds the benefits of dairy foods including calcium but it also adds fat and calories. Dried fruits add color, texture and flavor but also can add sugar and calories.
Seeds, beans and crunchy nuts add great flavor, texture and color but also can add additional calories and fat.
Dressing your salad
Dressings that top the salad you just made can be fat free, calorie free or can be so filled with fat and calories that you might as well eat a bowl of ice cream.
The bottom line here is this – watch how you dress your salad. Don’t pile everything you love onto the salad. Pick and choose carefully. Also read the labels on your dressing bottle.
My salad choices
My favorite salads these days are pretty simple. I usually start with red leaf lettuce. If I being a little adventurous I might go with the bibb or spinach route. I like to add Gorgonzola or blue cheese, dried apple chips with a small amount of diced tomatoes. Let’s not forget a protein of for good measure – either chicken, salmon or shrimp. It’s sort of my version of Panera’s Fuji Apple Chicken salad. Yes, I even have my own bottle of the salad dressing that is served if I were to purchase it from the restaurant.
Salads make great nutritious meals to add to your meal plan. Just make sure you pay close attention to what goes into your salad.
What is your favorite type of lettuce? What are your must have salad additions?