10 Tips and Tricks for Healthy Summer Salads
Cool, easy, delicious ... Toss one together tonight!
Salads fit the bill on those nights when it's hot outside and you just feel
like something light and cool for dinner. Plus, summer is the official season
for barbecues, block parties, and picnics, for which, nine times out of 10,
we're asked to "bring a salad."
For all these reasons, it's time to take a WebMD "Recipe Doctor"
look at summer salads.
The very word "salad" sounds low-cal, doesn't it? But salads can be
anything but low in calories, what with add-ons like mayonnaise, oily
dressings, breaded and fried chicken strips, bacon, and so on. Just take a look
at what some of these popular salad ingredients cost us in calories and fat
Saturated Fat (g)
|Mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon|
|Corn oil, 1 tablespoon|
|Chicken strips, 3|
|Taco salad shell or tortilla strips (37 grams)|
|1/2 cup shredded cheddar|
|1/4 cup sour cream|
|3 strips of bacon|
|Home-style croutons, 1 oz.|
Let's just say we ate a salad with all of the ingredients listed above (hey,
it could happen!). We'd end up with 1,500 calories and 106 grams of fat
(including more than 37 grams of saturated fat).
Healthful salad or high-calorie, high-fat salad -- it's all about the
ingredients you choose. You can cut way back on calories and fat grams just by
making some simple substitutions.
To help get you started, here are 10 quick tips and tricks for healthy
salads. After that, I'll share three fun recipes I recently lightened,
to get you psyched for summer salads!
1. Turn a salad into "dinner" by adding a protein-rich food.
This balances the carbohydrates in the salad and helps stave off hunger for
hours. It can be as easy as:
- Adding leftover chicken, shrimp, salmon, or lean steak from last night's
- Opening a can of beans (kidney, garbanzo, or black beans).
- Dicing smoked or baked tofu or adding cooked edamame (green soybeans).
- Tossing in diced, reduced-fat cheese (try reduced-fat Jack or cheddar,
part-skim mozzarella, fresh mozzarella, or soy-based cheeses).
2. Boost the smart-fat quotient by using canola oil or olive oil in
your dressing. Canola oil is pumped with monounsaturated fats, and has more
healthy omega-3 fatty acids than other cooking oils. Olive oil contains mostly
monounsaturated fat, and also contributes helpful phytochemicals. If you're
using a bottled dressing, check the label to make sure it uses either canola or