By: Susan Jackson
How many of you are like me and are trying to start some healthy habits in the New Year? Whether you’re trying to save money or eat better, packing a healthy lunch can help you do both! Salad is a common go to option for people trying to eat better, but not all salads are created equal. Here is a quick guide from Spend Smart. Eat Smart to simplify packing salads for lunch.
1. Include protein in your salad. Choose proteins like a hard boiled egg, beans, chicken or canned tuna. The protein will help you stay full throughout the afternoon. This is a great use for leftover ingredients from dinner.
2. Be careful about your dressing choice. Salad dressing can be expensive and high in fat, calories and sodium. Keep dressing portions small (approximately 1 tablespoon). One way to save money and be certain about the ingredients in your dressing is to make your own.
3. Choose toppings you enjoy, but avoid common pitfalls. Many restaurant salads are topped with lots of high calorie ingredients like bacon and cheese. It is ok to eat these tasty ingredients from time to time, but they can quickly turn your healthy homemade salad into a meal that is high in fat and calories. Instead, choose lots of veggies to top your salad. In the winter, choose those that taste good all year round like carrots, peppers, celery, green onions and even defrosted, frozen peas.
4. Prepare your salads ahead of time. We all know what it is like to run out of time on busy mornings. Sturdy greens like spinach hold up well for a few days in the fridge. You can also chop your veggies like peppers, carrots, celery and onions ahead of time. I avoid watery veggies like cucumbers when I am prepping salads ahead because they tend to get a bit soggy after a day or so. Also, wait to put the dressing on your salad until right before you eat it.
So pass up these:
** cole slaw, pasta or potato salads made with mayonnaise
**bacon bits and croutons
ssing, 75-90 calories per TBSP
**pre dressed Caesar Salad
**high fat cheese
**more than 1 TBSP of regular dre
**cream based soups
Including fruits and vegetables in your diet is easy when you make wise choices for your salad for lunch. Salad bars offer choices. You can enjoy a satisfying meal heaped with nutrition.