Are you planning to make resolutions for New Year’s health goals or are you following a specific plan to improve your health?
As we head into the new year with visions of healthy eating and perhaps weight loss, salads will be on the menu for many people.
Are you one of them?
While salads are healthy choices most of the time, we can quickly turn them unhealthy with some of the selections we make.
Resolutions for Health
People continue to say they are making a resolution for the coming year that will hopefully change their life in some positive way.
Two of the top resolutions made in the past few years have included these health goals — losing weight and being fit and healthy.
Did you know:
45% of Americans make resolutions each year,
only 8% of us are successful completing our resolutions,
24% of us are never successful achieving our resolutions, and
only 46% of us are still working on our resolutions six months later?
More interesting is that women make resolutions more than men, 52% versus 48%!
It is crucial for our health that we find strategies to help us achieve our goals and incorporate those into our lifestyle to maintain our health in the future.
One way to achieve your goals is to eat more plants including salads.
Unfortunately, what we think is just the thing to help us get healthier can turn out to be something that hinders our health goals.
When Salads Fail
Salads as part of a meal can add nutrition, freshness and help us maintain a healthy weight but they can also add hidden calories and fat that can become obstacles to your health goals.
They help fill you up and the foundation of dark greens such as romaine, arugula, and spinach add nutrients including vitamin A, C , K, and fiber.
It’s what you sprinkle on top that can make all the difference.
But what is lurking in your salad that may be adding to your waistline?
- Protein that is deep fat fried, coated with thick breading
- Bacon bits
- Excessive quantities of nuts and seeds (1 oz is adequate)
- Shredded and crumbled cheese (2 Tablespoons is enough), choose lower fat varieties too
- Excessive dried fruits (limit to a sprinkle)
- Fried onion rings or crumbles
- Crispy things like chow mein noodles and wonton strips
- Salad dressings that smother the fresh flavors
- Items with mayonnaise like potato salad, tuna salad
When you eat an entrée salad in restaurants, they put on the extra stuff so choose carefully or your healthy meal will outpace the calorie and fat content of a cheeseburger!
- Panera Steak and Bleu Cheese Salad has 790 calories and 54 grams of fat
- Chili’s Quesadilla Explosion has 1410 calories and 89 grams of fat
- McDonald’s Southwest Buttermilk Crispy Chicken Salad has 540 calories and 25 grams of fat
- Wendy’s Spicy Chicken Caesar Salad has 720 calories and 43 grams of fat
When you make it yourself from the salad bar, you have the option to make healthier choices not only in what gets sprinkled on but also on the portion sizes. Unfortunately, temptation can be a problem, especially when it is a bottomless salad and you feel you want to get your money’s worth.
The average do-it-yourself salad bar trip could be 1000 calories!
Tips to Keep the Salad Option Healthy
There are certainly things you can do to improve the nutritional content of your daily salad.
Don’t forget the many great things about this meal choice when you start to strip down some of the big contributors to the calories and fat.
- Portion control of the toppings that could be healthy when not eaten in excess, like nuts and dried fruits
- Opt for lean and grilled protein choices instead of the fried or heavily breaded choices
- Substitute plant protein for other types, like fried chicken or taco beef, by using beans, yogurt or quinoa on your greens
- One serving of croutons (30-40 calories) is 4 croutons so don’t toss on more than you need
- Add avocado to help you feel full longer
- Choose the smallest size container at the salad bar and fill with greens before toppings
- Add fresh veggies, such as shredded carrots, green peppers, red onions, jicama, and cucumber, to get the crunch plus nutrients in place of crunchy toppings like chow mein noodles and fried onions
- Use appropriate portions of salad dressing (1 tablespoon), opting for the regular version NOT the reduced calorie which has added sugar, however the better option is to use a flavored balsamic vinegar (I love pomegranate balsamic all by itself, no oil required) or red wine vinegar.
- Try my Recipe Renovation® for a delicious salad dressing that won’t skimp on flavor just calories!
To further help you along with your health goals, here’s a general tip that could help you this year:
It has been shown that you will be more successful if you have a buddy to support your efforts. 59% of those who paired with a buddy eventually achieved their goal compared to 29% who were going it alone.
I have a special Recipe Renovation® to get your health goals rolling in the New Year as you eat more greens!
This salad dressing is fresh and delicious without the added colors, sugars, salt, and preservatives the bottled dressings will add to your bowl!
Pomegranate Balsamic Vinaigrette Salad Dressing for you to enjoy!
You can download my Homemade Herb Seasoning Blend Recipes here.
For even more of my Recipe Renovations check out my cookbook Recipe Renovation® for the Health of It.
- 1/2 cup Pomegranate Balsamic Vinegar
- 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 Tablespoons Fresh Italian Herb Blend (see Recipe Renovation Cookbook or Resource Page Recipe)
- Combine all ingredients in salad dressing cruet or lidded jar.
- Mix by shaking well.
- Chill and serve over favorite salad greens.
- Serving Size: 1 Tablespoon
- Nutritional Content: 43 cals, 4.6 gm fat, 0 added sugars, 0 mg sodium, 0 cholesterol
- Try other flavored balsamic vinegars (or even regular) for a variety.