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A lot of times we associate the word “salad” with healthy and weight loss, but is it really? That completely depends on what all you put in your salad and what type and how much dressing you use.
Let’s start with the basics:
What type of lettuce are you using?
In general, iceberg lettuce is the least healthy. It contains a very minimal amount of vitamins and fiber yielding very little nutritional support. Better options for lettuce or greens would be spinach, romaine, or kale which all contain higher fiber and nutrients than iceberg lettuce.
What veggies are you adding to it?
Usually vegetables are relatively safe to pile onto a salad. Red bell peppers, carrots, cucumbers, broccoli, tomatoes, mushrooms, and onions are all fair game. It’s usually the peas or the corn that you want to moderate as those tend to be starchier carbs.
Are you adding protein to it?
Chicken, salmon, shrimp, turkey, and eggs are all great sources of lean protein that are great to add to a salad; of course we would prefer the meat to be grilled versus fried. Adding protein to your salad is vital because that is what’s going to fuel your body, digest slower, give you more energy, and help you stay fuller for longer.
What type of dressing are you using and how much?
Of course we all know that although ranch dressing is a favorite for most, it is one of the unhealthiest dressings you can use because of the high fat content. Other popular dressings that would fall into this same category include: creamy caesar, creamy italian, and bleu cheese. Usually if it’s creamy, it’s a no-go. From a high sugar standpoint you also want to read the ingredients and stay away from dressings touting “fat-free” like honey dijon due to its high sugar content.
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So what about this controversy of using low-fat versus fat-free salad dressing?
Research has demonstrated that your body needs some fat in order to properly absorb some of the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients in the salad. Furthermore, fat-free salad dressings are typically higher in sodium which can cause fluid retention and an increase in blood pressure over time. So possibly skip the fat-free, and just go with a low-fat or light dressing choice.
So what are some of the healthier dressings that won’t hinder your weight loss efforts?
Wish-Bone Salad Spritzer in Italian Vinaigrette, Wish-Bone Light Italian, Wish-Bone Light Italian, Wish-Bone Light Italian, or you could go with squeezing a lemon or lime over the top of your salad with olive oil. With the lemon, lime, or olive oil blend you will receive a healthy dose of fat which will help your body properly absorb the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients from the salad. And remember too, it’s not just about what type of dressing you use, but it’s important to keep to the recommended serving size as well. For this reason, always ask for your dressing on the side when ordering a salad out at a restaurant.
Other things to keep an eye out for or to keep in moderation on your salad include cheese, croutons, bacon bits, wontons, glazed nuts, and craisins.
Take home points: Choose dark leafy greens for the base (not iceberg lettuce), pile on a rainbow of vegetables, add lean protein, and choose a small amount of a light or low-fat dressing on the side.
About the Author:
Olivia Anna is a health and fitness blogger that shares informative articles online. and I would like to help people for healthy weight loss.
You can learn more about Anna via his website at SweetFitnessHacks