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How You Can Ruin a Salad

By Sara Butler

Salads have a reputation for being healthy. But they can go from healthy meal choices to a high-calorie bomb pretty fast. How? It's all about the choices you make when you're creating your salad. Here are just a few of the ways a good salad can go bad that you need to avoid to keep your salad healthy.

You Only Use Iceberg

The base of your salad is pretty important. If you're using only iceberg lettuce, then it may be time to reconsider. This type of lettuce is low in nutrients and really just acts as a filler. You don't get the same nutritional punch from it as you do darker, leafy greens. Plus, other lettuce choices taste better!

Instead of iceberg, use spinach, arugula, watercress, kale, green leaf lettuce, or dandelion greens -- or a mix of several. You'll provide your body with more Vitamin A, folate, phytochemicals, and minerals that way.

You Go Crouton Crazy

A little crunch with your salad isn't a bad thing, but if you're accomplishing that by burying the greens under a mountain of croutons, then you're adding a lot of unnecessary calories. Instead of reaching for croutons to add crunch, consider seeds or nuts. They provide your body with fiber and healthy fats while supplying the crunch you desire.

You Add Too Much Cheese

Cheese has its place in a healthy salad but going overboard with cheese is a dangerous game. Don't keep the cheese off your salad. Instead, try to limit how much you add to a single serving. That means cheese about the size of a pair of dice on your salad. If you want to add a cheesy flavor without the calories, then consider nutritional yeast too.

Adding Too Much Dressing

The dressing is where a lot of good salads go bad because it's easy to put way too much on. Commercial dressings aren't good for you because they're normally loaded with fat and calories. Two tablespoons of creamy commercial salad dressing can add up to 200 calories to your salad. When was the last time you only put two tablespoons of dressing on?

If you want to go for a healthier approach, then experiment with different flavors. You can add olive oil and vinegar to your salad or use salsa instead of dressings. Sometimes a squeeze of lemon or lime juice goes a long way. If you eat a salad at a restaurant, ask for the dressing on the side so you can monitor exactly how much you're getting.

Salads can be good for you, but you have to proceed with caution.

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

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