Salads and salad bars can be a wonderful, tasty and healthy way to enjoy a meal. However, you must be careful as just a few mistakes when picking your ingredients can add a ton of extra, unwanted calories to your meal.
Try using a smaller size plate and always begin by coating your plate with green leafy vegetables such as spinach, field greens or kale. If these choices aren’t available, just go with basic iceberg lettuce, but make sure to look for and add other healthy greens, such as broccoli, cucumbers, string beans and snow peas.
Next, move on to the vegetables and feel free to load up on any fresh veggies that you see. Avoid vegetables packed in oils and sauces. Instead, go for the fresh items such as tomatoes, carrots, mushrooms, bell peppers, cucumbers, cauliflower, onions, corn and beets.
If you want to add a protein, choose egg whites, chickpeas, beans, shrimp, crabmeat, lean chicken or turkey, or tuna or salmon that isn’t dressed in mayo. If you’re considering cheese, use sparingly, as it’s generally high in fat and calories. Stay away from deli meats as they’re loaded with sodium. Beware of anything premade, such as tuna salads, pasta salads and potato salads. A little dab on the side is fine, but make sure those items don’t dominate your plate as they’re usually loaded with calories and fats.
Sprinkle sunflower seeds, nuts, a few croutons, or raisins on top of your salad sparingly & avoid fatty toppings, such as bacon bits.
Dressings can be the single greatest hurdle at the salad bar. Avoid mixed dressings; your best bet is oil and vinegar. Some salad bars have many flavored vinegars to choose from such as balsamic, red wine, apple cider and white wine. You can also add a dash of Tabasco sauce or a tablespoon of honey for some extra flavoring, and fresh lemon juice can add a fresh twist!