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Turn over a
new leaf

Iceberg lettuce gets a bad rap, but its semi-sweet flavor and crispy texture make it a salad bar staple.


“You don’t have to give up iceberg altogether,” says Enga. “But you’ll get far more nutritional value from a salad with darker, leafy greens.”


If you’re not ready to go completely green, gradually mix in some darker greens. You may not notice a difference in the taste. Over time, add more green and try new varieties.

 

icebergiceberg. It's semi-sweet flavor and crispy texture make it a salad bar staple.

 

spinachSpinach. It’s tied with kale as the most nutritious of the leafy greens. Spinach has more than a dozen flavonoids (anti-inflammatory and cancer fighting compounds). Add it to smoothies, salads, wraps and just about everything else.

 

collard greensCollard greens. Southerners cook them with ham hocks, but they can be eaten raw or cooked into omelets or soups.

 

dandelion greensDandelion greens. The peppery leaves are loaded with vitamin K.
Sauté with olive oil and garlic or toss into your salad.

 

kaleKale. No doubt, kale is the “it” vegetable, and for good reason. The leaves are loaded with vitamin C, potassium and lutein. Kale is a bit bitter and is great roasted with a little salt, or added to soups and salads.

 

bok choyBok Choy. Packed with vitamin C, you’ll also get calcium with your crunch. Great added to coleslaw, noodles, soups and stir fry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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green it up

Green it up

Make sure your salad is delicious — and nutritious

The path to the salad bar is paved with good intentions. Here’s how to follow through.

 

“Salads are seldom the healthy choice on restaurant menus,” says Julie Enga, a registered dietitian at Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield. “Most restaurant salads are packed with more calories and fat than other menu items. You may be better off ordering a 4-ounce cheeseburger.”


In other words, if the salad is doused in dressing, topped with fried chicken or loaded with cheese, your good intentions just flew out the door.


You might think you’re better off at the salad bar. However, many of today’s salad bars stretch longer than a city block. By the time you reach the end, you end up with more on your plate than you intended. The words “all you can eat” only make matters worse, sending us back for more.


“An average plate from a salad bar can easily top 1,000 calories,” says Enga.


Before going out to your favorite restaurant, Enga stresses the importance of checking out the menu and nutritional facts online when possible.


“Salads are reported to be the main source of dietary fat for women,” she says.


“Eat a salad if that is what you really want, but don’t assume it is the healthier choice.”


To maximize your nutrition and control your calories and fat, consider these tips:


› Get more green. When ordering a salad, ask the wait staff to “green it up.” Request a salad that is heavy on veggies, light on cheese and croutons. At the salad bar, choose leafy greens such as spinach and romaine.


› Go for color. At the salad bar, load your plate with lots of colorful vegetables, which provide you with more nutrients.


› Go easy. Steer clear of the mayonnaise-based salads, cheese and bacon.


› Balance is crucial. To help you make it through the day, choose protein sources like lean turkey, ham, tuna, cottage cheese, eggs and beans.


› Go light. Choose low-fat or fat-free dressings when possible. Order salad dressing on the side to control calories and fat. “Just one ladle of dressing, on average, adds an additional 150 calories and more than 10 grams of fat,” says Enga.


› Go ahead — try it! The salad bar is a place to discover and try something new, such as artichokes, beets, lentils or mushrooms. Find new, healthy items you may like.

 

 

Dress it up

dressingHomemade salad dressings are surprisingly simple to make. Plus, they taste so much better than the processed variety you’ll find in the grocery aisle. Visit our recipe section for homemade salad dressing recipes.

 

 

 

 

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