The Today Show Explores The Amount Of Calories In Salads
I’ll bet you thought that opting out of greasy foods at restaurants and ordering a salad was a smart and healthy choice for you, right? Unfortunately, if you aren’t careful, that salad can be full of fat and calories. For example, a normal Cobb Salad with bacon, egg, blue cheese, avocado, and creamy dressing can contain more than 1000 calories and 80 grams of fat! Same goes for the Chef Salad which normally contains swiss cheese, roast beef, eggs, and dressing. But don’t worry, there’s no reason to give up salad eating. It can, in fact, be very good for you, but you must follow some guidelines to be sure that your salad is beneficial. Nutritionist Joy Bauer stopped by the Today Show yesterday on NBC to show Anne Curry her 5 simple rules to salad building. So follow these rules for a low-calorie (but still delicious salad):
1. Pile on the leafy greens
Load up on lettuce, spinach and mustard leaves. These provide ample amounts of folic acid, and lutein, which is an antioxidant. Eating these will give you less than 20 calories per 2 cups.
2. Eat lots of plain veggies
These are 25 calories or less per serving, so they’re an excellent choice for a salad filler. Make sure you vary your selection to get a healthy dose of vitamin C, potassium, folic acid, antioxidants, and fiber. Be careful of any veggies dipped in marinade, mayo, sauce, or fried!
Some popular salad bar items to consider are:
Peppers (red, green, or yellow)
3. Add a couple lean proteins
According to Joy Bauer on the Today Show, 1-2 scoops of these are good for you. Some smart choices may include grilled chicken (not fried!), hard boiled eggs (egg whites are best when available), shrimp, wild salmon, canned light tuna, low-fat cottage cheese, black beans, and chickpeas. Of course avoid the fried, crispy, or covered-in-sauce items.
4. You can indulge in one high-calorie “extra!”
Some high-calorie extras can add up to 600 calories, but many of them are full of nutritional value. These may include sunflower seeds, walnuts, and raisins. Take small portions and choose only one!
Here’s a quick calorie guide:
Chinese noodles – 150 calories (1/2 cup)
Croutons – 100 calories (1/2 cup)
Shredded cheddar cheese – 225 calories (1/2 cup)
Feta cheese – 190 calories (1/2 cup)
Chopped walnuts – 180 calories (1/4 cup)
Sunflower seeds – 180 calories (1/4 cup)
Granola – 115 calories (1/4 cup)
Raisins – 120 calories (1/4 cup)
Olives – 40 calories (8 items)
Avocado – 150 calories (1/2 item)
5. Less dressing is best
Although dressing is the best part for some, it’s also got the most calories. Stick to half a ladle full of dressing, unless it’s low calorie. Even one tablespoon of your average vinaigrette is 50 calories, while one tablespoon of creamy ranch is 90 calories. One tablespoon is far less than what most of us actually consume! Another alternative to dressing is to stick with olive oil and vinegar (use 1 to 2 teaspoons olive oil with unlimited amounts of vinegar or fresh lemon).
Now that you’re a pro, go build a super salad! If done the right way, salad can be extremely nutritional, and who knows, you may actually like them! Be like the Today Show crew, and listen to Joy Bauer and her excellent salad building tips!
Article Written By: Amy Jarvis; Amy is a graduate of FIDM in Los Angeles, CA and has recently crossed over from designing into the online world, writing and designing pages for Divavillage.com.