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Does Your Salad Measure Up?

How do you make healthy choices at the salad bar? Here are some tips to follow.

Nashville, Ark. – If you are trying to lose weight or eat healthy, you may opt for the salad bar at your favorite restaurant instead of ordering from the menu. While a basic salad contains around fifty calories and is packed with lots of vitamins and minerals, navigating a buffet of vegetables, side dishes and toppings might be harder than you think. Unless you make careful choices, you might end up with a salad containing more calories and fat than ordering from the menu.

            So how do you make healthy choices at the salad bar? Here are some tips to follow.

  • Check it out. Before ordering your meal, check out the salad bar to see what healthy options are available. Look at the salad options for freshness and variety.
  • Go for the green. Basic salad ingredients including spinach and lettuces are generally low in calories and fat. Choose several of these as the foundation of your salad.
  • Add on the fresh fruit and vegetables. In addition to greens, you’ll want to pile on fresh vegetables and fruits, such as tomatoes, mushrooms, carrots, broccoli, cauliflowers, cucumbers, radishes, bell peppers, pineapple, cantaloupe, watermelon, grapes and strawberries. All of these items are packed full of vitamins and have few calories.
  • Think about the extras. This is where many people make a mistake. They choose more of these high fat ingredients, such as, cheese, chopped eggs, bacon bits, buttery croutons and pasta or potato salad. When you go through the salad bar, take only very small amounts of these items or skip over them completely. If you see too many tempting foods and don’t feel you can pass over them, consider ordering from the menu instead of choosing the salad bar.
  • Don’t forget the dressings. Look for fat-free or low-fat, low-calorie dressings, such as low-fat Italian or reduced-calorie French. Sometimes this can be a real challenge. If they are not available, think vinegar based dressings such as balsamic vinegar or any with vinaigrette in the name. You can also add flavor to your salad with lemon, herbs and peppers. If you just can’t pass up the heavier salad dressings such as Ranch or Thousand Island, use a small amount. Many of the serving utensils can easily add up to four tablespoons of dressing. Try to put on half of what is in the serving spoon.

            You can enjoy a healthy meal when dining out at the salad bar. Just think about your options and make wise choices.

            For more information on choosing healthy salad options, contact the Howard County Extension Office located on the second floor of the courthouse or call our office at 870-845-7517. I’ll be glad to send you information on choosing healthy salad options. The Cooperative Extension Service is part of the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture.

Recipe of the Week

            Here is a recipe for you to try. It would be a great side dish to almost any meal or perfect for a potluck dinner. It serves six, but you can always double the amount of ingredients when making for a larger crowd. This recipe is from the website whatscooking.fns.usda.gov. Check out this website for lots of great tasting, healthy recipes.

Chef Ashley’s World Famous Broccoli Salad

6 cups broccoli florets, cut into bite size pieces

2 green onions, sliced

1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 tablespoon honey

½ teaspoon ginger

2 teaspoons Low Sodium Soy Sauce

1 teaspoon sesame oil or olive oil

1/4 cup Chow Mein Noodles

            Wash, cut and set aside the broccoli, cilantro and green onions. Mix rice vinegar, honey, ginger, soy sauce and oil together. Pour sauce over vegetables and mix well.

            Break chow mein noodles into bite size pieces. When ready to serve, sprinkle chow mein noodles over salad. Enjoy!

By Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
421 N. Main St, Nashville AR 71852
(870) 845-7517
jince@uaex.edu

 

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