Salad Bar Science

Cathy Hamilton Health Guide
  • With a trip to Grand Cayman coming up in mid-March, I have been especially well-behaved on my diet lately. I've been eating salads almost every day for lunch, and twice a week for dinner. I love sitting down at my neighborhood soup and salad cafe for a leisurely midday meal but, he problem is, I haven't had time for hour-long lunches, of late. So, I've resorted to hitting my local grocery store's salad bar for quick sustenance.

     

    The typical food market won't list the nutritional values of every ingredient on their salad bar, and mine is no exception. But, thanks to the Internet, it is simple to do a little research in order to avoid the fattening minefields (and there ARE some, believe me) featured under the sneeze guard.

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    Since I'm pretty much focused on calorie counting (and burning) of late, I'm concerned with portion size and relative calorie counts. Here's the rundown of what was on my salad at noon today:

     

    Ingredients 

     

    1 1/4 cups lettuce: 15
    1/4 cup cucumber: 4
    1/4 cup artichoke hearts: 20
    1/4 cup tomato: 15
    4 T chopped egg: 50
    1 T sunflower seeds: 80
    2 T cheddar cheese: 55
    2 T low-cal Ital. dressing: 15
    1/2 cup cottage cheese with Splenda and one strawberry for dessert: 125

    Grand Total = 379

     

    Granted, that total was about 50 calories more than I would have liked but I didn't think the cottage cheese was low fat so I guess conservatively.

     

    The danger in salad bars, of course, are the creamy non-diet salad dressings at upwards of 150 calories per ladle and all those mixed salads - cole slaw, macaroni salad, potato salad, etc. Throw in a cup of cream-based soup and a sugary dessert and your calorie totals can skyrocket.

     

    For a last taste of sweetness, I like to mash up one big strawberry into some cottage cheese with a packet of Splenda. If you close your eyes and ramp up your imagination, you can make believe you're eating a delicious New York cheese blintz with strawberry

    preserves (maybe).

     

    Happy and healthy dining, everyone!

Published On: February 04, 2008