Salad Bar Mis-Steps: 7 Blunders to Avoid

Lisa Nelson, RD, LN Health Pro
  • When trying to lose weight a salad can be a great choice to include as a regular part of your meal plan - either as a vegetable side or the main entrée.

    However, a salad can quickly become a weight loss disaster if you make the 7 mistakes below!

    Mistake #1 - Selecting iceberg lettuce.

    Iceberg lettuce is one of the most common forms of lettuce you'll find in grocery stores and salad bars. Unfortunately iceberg lettuce provides minimal nutrients (mostly crunchy water). Select dark green, leafy lettuce varieties, such as romaine and endive. Also, greens like spinach and arugula provide added nutrients to your salad mix.

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    Mistake #2 - Skimping on fresh vegetables.

    You can afford to splurge on fresh vegetables, such as broccoli, carrots, cabbage, peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, and mushrooms. Fresh vegetables are low in calories and rich in vitamins and minerals.

    Mistake #3 - Skipping the protein.

    If your salad is your entrée it's important to add some protein, such as chopped eggs, nuts and seeds, beans, or shredded meat (turkey/ham/chicken/seafood).

    Mistake #4 - Choosing a cream based soup.

    Soup is often included on salad bars. Cream based soups tend to be high in calories and fat. Opt for broth based soups instead.

    Mistake #5 - Loading up on salad toppings

    Croutons, sesame noodles, and bacon bits are a few common salad toppings. These topping should be used sparingly. They provide minimal nutrients and are high in calories.

    Mistake #6 - Selecting a high fat, high calorie salad dressing.

    Now, if you've avoided the first five mistakes, you don't want to ruin your nutritious salad with a poor dressing choice. Opt for vinegar based salad dressings or low fat/calorie salad dressing if available and use sparingly. Tip: Dip your fork in a small cup of salad dressing before every bite instead of pouring the dressing on your salad. You get great flavor with every bite and use significantly less dressing.

    Mistake #7 - Making too many trips to the salad bar.

    Even if your salad bar includes unlimited trips it's not necessary to go back multiple times - which can be very tempting. Decide in advance how many trips you'll make and stick with your plan. Even though a well-balanced salad is a healthy choice, too much of a good thing can quickly turn bad!

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Published On: January 11, 2010