By Julie Stefanski, clinical dietitian at WellSpan Health
If you’re a Simpson’s fan you may remember Homer taunting Lisa, an avid vegetarian, with the chant “You don’t win friends with salad.” Well, if you’re trying to make friends with your waistline, salad can either be a Godsend or a calorie bomb. It all depends on the anatomy of YOUR salad.
Here’s a few tips to make your salad a healthy option:
Start with lots of greens
Build your salad on several cups of lettuce or spinach. Iceberg always gets a bad rap, but there’s nothing really wrong with iceberg if you like the taste. It is mostly water so it does not contain any significant vitamins or minerals, but it’s still really a low calorie filler. More colorful options do give a better nutritional boost. Opt for green leaf or red leaf lettuce, mesclun mix, spinach or even kale for more folate, B Vitamins, and beneficial minerals.
Don’t skip the colorful non-starchy vegetables
The healthiest salads contain lots of chopped up veggies. Try tossing in mushrooms, radishes, peppers, sliced zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes, purple cabbage or carrots for lots of flavor, crunch, and nutrition.
Salad bars can be a good option if you want a little of each one with out all of the prep work.