A salad bar may seem like the most potentially healthful piece of restaurant real estate, but it can quickly turn into a nutritional minefield. Depending on the ingredients you choose, a salad can be the healthiest thing in the world or it can contain more calories and fat than three Big Macs! When building a salad, start with a large bed of lettuce and add as many vegetables as you'd like. A cup of vegetables has only 25 calories. Things to look out for are cheese, croutons, seeds, avocado, and any prepared salads with mayonnaise which are loaded with fat and calories.
A salad done right is filled with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fiber. Your salad should be a combination of fiber (such as vegetables and beans) with lean protein (chicken, turkey, tuna, shrimp, crab, or lean meat). As I always say, "fiber and protein at every meal makes losing weight no big deal!"
It is the combination of fiber and protein that gives you long-term satiety and fills you up without filling you out. So the next time you have a salad for lunch, aim for add-ins from the "Best Picks" list below.
Tanya Zuckerbrot, MS, RD is a nutritionist and founder of Skinnyandthecity.com. She is also the creator of The F-Factor DietaC/, an innovative nutritional program she has used for more than ten years to provide hundreds of her clients with all the tools they need to achieve easy weight loss and maintenance, improved health and well-being. For more information log onto