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A Salad is The Perfect Diet Food, Right?

Aug 17, 2007
It depends.

Are you having a salad or a tossed meal?

Does the salad dressing you're using have a lot of calories in it, and are you using so much of it on your salad that you have the caloric equivalent of a McDonald's burger on your salad in dressing alone?

Many people think that if they are having a salad for lunch or dinner, or even breakfast, that they are having a healthy meal. And yes, a salad can be a very healthy food choice. It can also be just as bad of a food choice as a fast food burger and fries depending on what is put on that salad.

Here's an example of a salad a friend of mine who was dieting recently made for herself when we were having lunch at a restaurant with a salad bar. I watched her make a huge salad and this is what it contained:
Iceberg lettuce
Shredded carrots
Tomatoes
Cucumbers
Hard boiled egg
Diced ham
Diced turkey
Diced salami
Bacon bits
Shredded cheddar cheese
Shredded Parmesan cheese
Croutons
Sunflower Seeds
Regular ranch dressing,lots of it
On the side of the salad but on the same plate she piled servings of potato salad, pasta salad, and cottage cheese.

I think I remembered all the ingredients. I may have forgotten one two, but I'm pretty close to having them all. I remembered her salad because she talked about her diet a lot during lunch and was so proud of herself for not ordering the hamburger she really wanted and instead having the salad. When I pointed out that the hamburger would have been less calories, she laughed at me. I think she thought I was joking but I wasn't.

My friend did not have a salad. By the time she finished making her salad it was hard to see the lettuce. She had a tossed meal. And she had several high fat items in that salad like the processed deli meats, the cheddar cheese, and the bacon bits.

On the other hand, a salad can be a very healthful choice. Some good choices are:
Dark leafy greens although iceberg is okay too
Raw vegetables like tomatoes, broccoli, mushrooms, carrots, cauliflower, cucumber, green pepper (or any other color pepper), celery, radishes, and onions
A low fat or vinaigrette dressing (raspberry vinaigrette has big flavor without having a lot of calories)

A salad can be whatever you want it to be. But a salad piled high with high calorie and high fat foods in a not the perfect diet food. In fact, what it might be is the perfect diet wrecking food because it fools people into thinking they are eating a low calorie meal when they aren't.
About the Author
Dorrie Ruplinger has written several articles about weight loss. For a free report on how to lose 10 pounds before Christmas visit href="http://www.loseweightforchristmas.com">LoseWeightForChristmas.com.
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