As the temperature heats up and the summer season begins, you may be thinking about adding in some “lighter” meal ideas to your family’s weekly menus. Salads may seem like the perfect answer. But, beware! Salads can pack a whopping calorie punch if you add too many high-fat toppings.
Below are a few salad pitfalls and some tips on how to make sure your salad is not only healthy but also delicious:
- You can make your own using turkey bacon instead, but if it’s a little crunch you’re looking for, try topping your salad with a tablespoon of nuts such as almonds, pecans or pine nuts.
- Cheese is a good source of calcium and protein, but can also be a significant source of calories and fat. Choose low-fat shredded cheese or parmesan cheese.
Choose your protein wisely
- Grilled chicken, shrimp or salmon, tuna with low-fat mayo, a hard boiled egg, or lean cold cuts such as turkey and ham, are all great choices. Plus, it’s a great way to turn any salad into a healthy entrée.
- The dressing that you choose can make or break your salad. A good choice to use oil and vinegar (go easy on the oil) or squeeze some fresh lemon on your salad to give it a citrus flavor. You can also try using a reduced fat version of your favorite dressing.
- When dining out, always order dressing on the side to control the amount you consume. Often times the dressing alone can contain more fat and calories than the salad itself.
- Although they are heart healthy, they have the potential to add a tremendous amount of calories. So, be mindful of portions. Just 8-10 nuts are enough to deliver health benefits, without delivering too many calories.
- Use dried fruit sparingly — the calories can add up quickly. Opting for fresh fruit like chopped apples, strawberries or pears is a great alternative.
- As an unsaturated fat, avocado is healthy for your heart, but it’s also high in calories. At around 350 calories for the whole avocado, it is wise to just add a small slice to your salad.
Mayo Based Salads
- Many salad bars have pasta, chicken, egg, and tuna salads as well as other mayo or oil based salads as an option. These can turn your good intentions into a high-calorie and high-fat meal.
Keep these tips in mind the next time you make a salad and you’re sure to have a tasty and healthy summertime meal!