Healthy Salad Bar Strategies

By Donna Stark

You want to eat healthier, so instead of ordering that supreme burrito for dinner, you opt for the salad bar instead. At first, that sounds like a great idea and you are pretty proud of yourself for having the discipline to choose it, but after your third trip to that unlimited food bar? Well, you begin to second-guess your decision, don't you? Your body starts to feel heavy, the employees know your name, and you are starting to question if chicken wings really are a legit salad topping. All joking aside, salad bars can be a great option for those trying to lose or maintain their weight, but like most things, you need to proceed with caution!

Salad Bar Strategies

Adding the wrong toppings to your salad can be just as destructive to your calorie count as eating that supreme burrito with extra sour cream on the side. Sure, it sounds like the healthier choice, but if you don't make wise selections from the get-go, that healthy choice can suddenly become very unhealthy. Here are some tips on what to avoid so that you can navigate the plethora of food laid out in front of you and have some actual success with building your low-calorie meal.

  • Creamy dressings - Dressings such as ranch, blue cheese, and Caesar are not the best choices you can make here, so it's best if you just completely avoid them. In addition to being loaded with more fat than you want, they often have high levels of sodium and offer very little nutritional value. Choose a vinaigrette or olive oil and lemon instead.
  • Processed meats - When it comes to creating a healthy salad, it's best to avoid processed meats, like those yummy bacon bits that sit at the end of the bar. Instead, choose chickpeas, black beans, or unsalted dry-roasted nuts.
  • Tortilla strips, croutons, and crunchy noodles - These are bad all around. Why destroy a plate packed with nutrition with something that may be fried and full of sodium and empty calories? The best swap for the crunch you are looking for is to add sunflower seeds or some other type of crunchy vegetable.
  • Dried fruit - You may be wondering why fruit is on the list of things to avoid when you are always being told to eat more fruit, right? Well, raw fruit is a perfect addition to add to your salad, so go ahead and throw some blueberries on top. Just be sure to avoid the dried fruit that often contains added oils and sugars.

Healthy Salad, Healthy Body

Do antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals sound good? Eating a salad can definitely fill your body with loads of nutrition as long as you watch what you put on it! Don't sabotage your diet and fitness goals with toppings that are meant to deceive you. Stay smart and stay healthy!

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Scottsdale, Ariz.

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