Nutrition Tips for the Healthiest SaladsPosted: July 3, 2012 in Healthy Eating by Craig Primack MD FACP
Many people trying to lose weight think salads are considered one of the “safer” choices when it comes to eating a healthy meal. Though salads can be a healthy addition to most medical weight management diet plans, weight loss patients should be careful when preparing a salad fit for weight loss. Preparing salads as part of a weight management diet plan presents weight loss patients with an opportunity to load up on plenty of healthy fresh fruits and veggies.
Here are some tips on how to maximize the health potential of every salad you prepare.
- Don’t opt for pre-made salad choices. Unfortunately, not all salads are healthy, and many pre-made options are loaded with less-nutritious iceberg lettuce, hardly any fresh vegetables and are pre-packaged with unhealthy, high-calorie dressings to boot. The pre-made salads available at most Scottsdale grocery stores or food marts aren’t always the most beneficial or healthy option for weight management diet plans. Whenever possible, try to build your own salad at salad bars or buy your own ingredients to make a healthier version at home.
- Don’t build your own salad with iceberg lettuce. Oftentimes, people begin building their own salads with iceberg lettuce unaware that this green offers little to no nutritional value compared to other greens. When you are able to build your own salad, always choose a darker green such as spinach or arugula. Spinach contains tons of healthy minerals and vitamins and is filled with plenty of fiber so it helps keep you fuller longer.
- Don’t go overboard with toppings. Many salad bars offer patrons myriad choices for toppings ranging anywhere from healthy nuts and beans to unhealthy pasta salads and dressings. Many of these unhealthier toppings such as pasta salads and creamy dressings contain tons of mayonnaise and fats that can quickly turn your healthy meal into a weight loss disaster.
- Practice the two-thirds rule. When preparing or building your own salad, try to allow for two-thirds of your salad to comprise healthy greens and raw vegetables. Two-thirds allow for a healthy portion of nutritious and health-boosting greens. Let the other one-third of your salad allow for smaller portions of healthy fats such as avocado and nuts and lean meats such as chicken and fish. Applying this rule to your salads makes for the healthiest salads that aren’t lacking in flavor.
- Get creative with nutritious ingredients. Though salad bars may limit your choices for exciting salad ingredients, when you prepare one at home your options are limitless. Salads can be healthy without lacking zest. Experiment with your healthy ingredients by building salads with fresh and interesting fruits, veggies and seeds. Add delicious kiwi slices, fresh sprouts, herbs or navy beans to maximize the nutritious value of your salad.
- Switch out salad dressings for healthy alternatives. Instead of piling on high-calorie or even low-fat dressings—think even healthier. Top off your salads by drizzling a tiny bit of balsamic vinegar and olive oil over the leaves or spritz it with fresh lemon juice for vibrant flavor minus the calories.
Keep some of these salad preparation tips in mind when building or preparing the healthiest salads to supplement your weight management diet. Keep an eye out at the grocery or health food store for fun in-season fresh fruits and veggies to maximize your salad’s healthy potential. Make sure to speak with your weight loss doctor before adding any new foods to your weight management diet plan.