You can breathe a sigh of relief. I’m going to spare you the lecture filled with impractical “rules” for what you should or shouldn’t eat at the salad bar. Instead, I’m going to level with you about how to refine a few of your salad bar habits with some practical tips.
Mistake #1: You Don’t Realize Salad Isn’t “Free”
You might avoid the iceberg and head straight for romaine, kale, spinach, and mixed greens, but it doesn’t take much to ruin what could be a healthy meal. Calorie-dense add-ons like shredded cheese, pasta, or those crunchy sesame noodles won’t cause your spare tire to inflate . . . if you are mindful that they are much higher in calories than nutrient-packed veggies like cucumbers and peppers, or fruits like apricots and tomatoes.
Mistake #2: You Eat Too Much “Good” Fat
Fats are essential. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats found in salmon, eggs, olive oil, avocados, and nuts can help fight disease and regulate cholesterol levels. But an ounce of fat also contains more than twice as many calories as an ounce of carbohydrates or protein, so a truck-sized load of “good” fat on your plate still spells bad news for your gut. this was something I just learned since I started eating healthy and studying nutrition.
Don’t avoid fats entirely. Just don’t pile ‘em on. Use the thumb rule. When you’re adding a serving of a fatty food, use about a thumb’s worth. Generally, you don’t need more than two thumbs’ worth of fat on a salad, so maybe a wedge of avocado and a small spoonful of chopped nuts.
Mistake #3: Your Plate is Monochromatic
I never even knew how to pronounce this word until recently, but I did know from reading articles, etc.. that color was good when it came to fruits and vegetables got your salads. No need to hit every shade on the color wheel, though, but a litle of reds, oranges, yellows, and greens does more than pretty up your salad; it adds variety to your diet and delivers a variety of essential nutrients. I love adding red peppers, tomatoes and orange slices and carrots.
Did you know that darker color veggies like broccoli, spinach, peppers, and carrots have the most nutritional value? I never did. I thought veggies were veggies. But each color—red cranberries, white onions, orange carrots, green peppers—has different antioxidant properties and different ways to protect against things like cancer or heart disease.”
Since variables like your sex, age, and how active you are determine how many fruits and vegetables you should consume per day. If you follow a particular fitness or nutritional program, you should know how much fruits and vegetables you need to eat per day, or in the 21 Day Fix, how many green or purple containers you need. For more information on the 21 Day Fix, please feel free to look at the Home Page of my site or contact me directly and I’ll be happy to share some great information on this great fitness and nutritional program that spells out exactly how much fruits, veggies, proteins and carbs you eat, all while teaching you portion control!
Mistake #4: You Avoid Carbs
If you’ve turned your back on carbs, fearing they’ll make you fat, it’s time to stop believing that myth. Carbohydrates don’t make you fat (hint: lettuce—and all other vegetables—are carbs); consuming too many calories does. So if you’re training hard, you most likely want to go heavier on the healthy carbs, given they’re your body’s primary fuel source.
Body weight can increase after a carbohydrate-rich meal because carbs hold water in the body. When you carbo-load, for every ounce of carbohydrates you store in your muscle as glycogen, you store about three ounces of water. So when someone eats a bunch of pasta and wakes up the next day feeling like they’ve gained two pounds, they have gained water weight, not fat. It was hard for me to grasp this as I know so many people, including myself that thought that carbs were “bad” for you. I tried a low carb diet and all it did was make me regret my choice, gain more weight back after I ate them again. I do not like to “not” be able to eat my favorite foods, including carbs so knowing this has allowed me to learn and stick with my choice for eating healthier. Not dieting but eating healthier! There’s a difference.
Mistake #5: You Really Love Dressing
We’ve all done it; after pouring our blood, sweat, and tears into making a perfectly balanced salad, the whole operation goes kaboom after we drown it in an inch of dressing.
Put the dressing in a side dish, dip your fork into the dressing, and then stab a forkful of salad. You can also dilute the dressing with water, vinegar, or even some milk if it’s a creamy dressing. A little bit of dressing on a big salad can be a lot of dressing. Say three tablespoons of dressing is 200 calories. If you have six tablespoons worth of dressing, that’s 400 calories. So if you’re using all of it, you could have had a piece of pizza. It doesn’t matter if it’s regular, fat-free, low-fat, etc. Too much dressing is destructive to your nicely made healthy salad.
So there you have it! Salads are great but just be careful and not make your salad an enemy.
I hope you enjoyed this information I have shared with you. Please comment and let me know your favorite toppings on your salad. If you would like more nutritional tips and healthy recipes, please feel free to follow my blog, comment and share wuth your friends!
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Happy Healthy Eating!
Denise Fontana Nori