A salad bar is a great place to look if your are looking for a healthy and nutritious meal. Just make sure that you don't let all the lettuce and celery fool you. Eating at a salad bar can, in many cases, cause you to eat more calories than if you had tried something off the menu.
Did you know that almost 10% of the calories that the average person consumes comes from Salad dressing. That's a pretty scary thought, but if you look at the label next time you go to use the salad dressing it might make you cringe.
These servings are for 1 tablespoon
(When's the last time someone only put 1 tablespoon on their salad?)
|Grams of Fat||5.7||7.1||2.0|
|Calories from fat||51.3||63.9||18.0|
|Percent of total calories from fat||88%||96.8%||62%|
The average person usually puts somewhere between two and five tablespoons of dressing on their meal each time they eat. Two to Five tablespoons equals approximately 132 - 330 calories just from the dressing. Look at the number of calories in the light dressing (only 29). The amount of calories is quite a bit lower, as long as you only use 1 or 2 tablespoons worth. Even the light has way too much fat for the amount of food value it provides.
Something to try: get your dressing on the side and dip your salad into it.
That's the bad news, but here is the good news, there are plenty of healthy choices that you can make at the salad bar that will help you to eat healthily.
The general rule with green food is that the darker green it is, the healthier it is for you. This is a good way to help you decide which greens to eat in your salad. Spinach is one of the best greens you can get. Many people aren't used to the taste but it is full of vitamins. Romaine lettuce would be next on the chain and iceberg would be near the bottom of the greens. This is not to say that iceberg is bad, it just means that you are going to get less good stuff out of it as compared to the darker greens.
The next thing you want to remember is that you want to make your plate look like a rainbow. Try things that have different colors. Vegetables that are different in color will usually have different nutrients and they will compliment each other very nicely. Some good examples are cucumber, peppers, carrots, broccoli, mushrooms, cauliflower and others like them.
Meats at a salad bar are a cause of concern as well. Most processed meats are incredibly high in salt and equally worrisome in their fat content (some can be up to 60% fat).