Melissa Bess, Nutrition and Health Specialist, Camden County, University of Missouri Extension
Salads offer a lower fat and lower calorie meal for those looking for a light lunch or dinner. Salad bars are readily available and are usually fairly inexpensive. However, a salad can become a fat-laden, calorie-heavy choice if the right selections aren’t made when dishing up your meal.
Choose darker colored lettuce if it’s available, such as romaine or spinach. The darker the lettuce, the more nutrients it has. If you don’t like the taste of those alone, you can mix them with iceberg for added nutrients and better flavor.
Pile veggies on your salad, such as tomatoes, cucumbers, mushrooms, onions, carrots and beets. Most veggies have fiber, which doesn’t add calories or fat, but helps you feel full longer because of the sponge-like effect of fiber. Try to choose a rainbow of colors for your salad.
For a protein punch, add some kidney, pinto or garbanzo beans. Beans add flavor and fiber. Grilled chicken, ham or plain tuna (no mayonnaise) is also a good choice to add some protein without adding extra fat. Protein helps us stay full longer because it’s not digested as rapidly…
For more tips on what to add to your salads and what to avoid, see the full version of this article at http://missourifamilies.org/