Dressing Up A Low Fat Salad

Salad are easy low fat ways to add more veegtables into your diet. Add low-fat ingredients and stay healthy.

How much healthier and easier it would make our lives if the following were posted at the beginning of the salad bar line:

Salad Bar Rule #1 - If there's mayonnaise or sour cream on it, pass it up.

Salad Bar Rule #2 - Salad is veggies and fruits - not sauced-up pasta or frosted cakes. Make better choices.

Salad Bar Rule #3 - If you can't follow rule #1 and #2, stay out of salad bars.

But of course, that sign will never appear. The restaurants know your cravings and desires and they're not about to give up the excellent cash rewards coming from that knowledge.

A salad is a great way to get in at least some of the five servings of vegetables and fruits per day recommended by the US Department of Health and Human Services. A serving of leafy greens is one cup. If it is a cooked vegetable or fruit, the serving is 1/2 cup. Dried fruit servings are 1/4 cup. So you see, a large salad can easily accommodate several recognized servings of fruits and veggies and taking the fat out of the salad isn't a problem.

Re-visiting the salad choices, all greens and other veggies are fair game. Load up on these choices first. Next, add on some fruit - grapes, pineapple, melons, kiwi, whatever you like. Add fiber with beans such as kidney, green beans or garbanzo. These are great choices instead of chopped meats you'll find on salad bars. If you like black olives, at most take only three and make sure they're chopped so you can sprinkle them around the salad and get the most mileage out of their wonderful flavor. Imagine how you're impacting your nutrient quotient by adding all these essential A, B and C vitamins to your meals.

Take no more than two tablespoons each of sunflower seeds and imitation bacon bits.

Opt for bread sticks or a small package of crackers instead of croutons that have been soaked in oil during toasting.

Since dressing is where the real fat lies, tread carefully. Try balsamic vinegar splashed over your salad or use a low fat dressing. When in doubt, use any dressing that uses the word 'vinegarette'. At least you'll know the fat calories have been cut proportionately with the vinegar.

Ask for your dressing 'on the side' in a small ramiken dish. This is a terrific way to control portions. Dip your fork tines in the dressing, then stab the salad onto the fork.

You won't even miss all that dressing your poor salad usually drowns in.

When eating salad at home, keep reduced calorie and low fat dressings on hand. Mix your own unique dressing using low-fat or no-fat plain yogurt and experiment using spices. Spices allow you to add plenty of flavor and no fat.

Keep in mind that a salad should be four times as large as what you eat after it. In other words, your meat entrée will be small to keep your eating in balance. And what's so hard about that? You've got a lot of good eating ahead of you.

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