Salads have long been the go-to food of choice for those watching their weight. Indeed, trying to eat healthy includes eating more vegetables and fruits — and overflowing salad bars have cornered the market for dieters across the globe. But savvy salad noshers know that not all salads are created equal.
Toppings to avoid
While the idea of eating a salad may sound like a healthy alternative to fat-laden burgers or creamy sauces ladled over multiple servings of pasta, making the wrong choices for salad toppings ups the calorie count on many salads — particularly those created at the salad bar.
For those looking to watch their fat and calorie intake, here is a list of typical salad-bar offerings to skip or limit:
- Iceberg lettuce
- Breaded meats
- Real bacon bits
- Crunchy toppings (e.g., crispy noodles, sesame sticks, croutons)
- Cheese (OK in moderation, but limit to 2 tablespoons)
- Fruit salads (either in gel (e.g., strawberries) or cream)
- Creamy salad dressings
Toppings to add
Try to include a wide variety of colors in your salad to ensure a good intake of many vitamins. Look for veggies that pack a powerful fiber punch to fill you up. And mind your portions of healthy fats, such as avocado, dried cranberries and nuts. To try:
- Romaine, spinach and mixed greens (a great base for your salad)
- Lean meats (e.g., grilled chicken, water-packed tuna, hard-boiled eggs)
- Beans (e.g., kidney, chickpea, edamame, navy)
- Nuts and seeds (limit to 1/2 ounce)
- Cheese (stronger-flavored cheeses (e.g., blue cheese, sharp cheddar, feta) add more flavor in a smaller amount — limit to 2 tablespoons)
- Vegetables (e.g., broccoli, cauliflower, bell peppers, carrots, bean sprouts, snap peas, tomatoes, asparagus spears, hearts of palm, cucumber, beets, peas, jícama, radish, squash, water chestnuts)
- Fruits (sliced, fresh apples, strawberries, blueberries, mandarin oranges, grapes, pears, watermelon sections, pomegranate seeds)
- Low-fat, low-calorie salad dressings (e.g., lemon and vinegar, red wine vinegar, balsamic vinaigrette, salsa)
Wichita's salad bars are loaded with both healthy and not-so-healthy options. Learn to create a nutritious meal at these well-stocked Wichita-area salad bars:
- Jason's Deli (east and west Wichita)
- Doc Greens (13th and Webb)
- Green Acres (21st and Rock)
- Dillons (various Wichita locations)
Salad bars can provide healthy choices for a meal, and they can also provide quite a variety. So feel free to eat a salad every day, knowing that you're eating well and never consuming the the same meal twice.
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