How healthy is your salad?

Salads are not always the low calorie food. Make informed choices for a healthy salad.

We all enjoy a good salad bar and flavorful and colorful options. These options make it hard to think of being careful of the calories that lurk in that bountiful salad bowl. It is important to know and eat within the recommended dietary guidelines for all food groups. This includes salad dressings, sauces and toppings that seem healthy.

For a healthy salad chose grilled chicken instead of the fried or crispy. This choice allows a bit of wiggle room for calories to come from other hidden items. Michigan State University Extension recommends adding more plain vegetables to your salad. You can increase flavor and color by adding an extra cucumber or tomato to your salad. Try adding different items on your salad to add color and various nutrients in creating a healthy meal.

Dressing can carry a multitude of hidden calories. These calories can easily be shaved by choosing low-fat or fat-free dressing options. Know your dressing by reading the food label when selecting your dressing. The label will tell you how much is recommended and how many calories are in that portion. When you are able, always measure out your dressing and put it on the side. Salad dressing is meant to enhance the flavor of the vegetables, not cover them.

It is also important to remember to wash all vegetables. Salads can be healthy, unless we add unwanted germs. Care must be given to wash any microscopic organisms from all produce. Just remember to wash and clean all vegetables added.

According to a study reported on the healthfinder.gov website, there may be more choices appearing on a menu but they are not always healthy. Everything we add changes the contents of calories. Make a choice to enjoy the flavor of salad.

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