Jul 26, 2014

Are You Salad Savvy?

Salad Savvy

It is summer and it is hot. Who the hell likes cooking in a hot a** kitchen? Not me!! Salads are a great summer choice, plus good for the waist line.

Buuut, once all the tasty stuff gets added, plus the dressing, sometimes those salads can rake in several hundred to a thousand or more calories.

What do you do to limit that? (if that is what you want to do)

The easiest tip is using mostly veggies like tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, cabbage, lettuce (obviously), mushrooms, onions, peppers, etc. And these should be low starch. So corn, edamame, and peas should be limited or avoided..... Sorry, I know those are delish but not so fab on the waist if you are trying to lose weight.

Let’s look at some of the things I would leave off if I were trying to lose weight or watch my caloric intake. First 2 things I would leave off are bacon and cheese. These are good (delicious) but high in fat & calories and the salad can be tasty –very tasty -without it.

Next, I would leave off hard broiled eggs. They are good-and good for you- but they are 70 calories for just one.  Besides, every time I have seen a salad with hard broiled eggs on it they have bacon and cheese anyway.  I, personally, add meat to my salads for protein so I just dice up some lunch meat like turkey breast. OR I add a hard broiled egg or two.  Not both, meat AND eggs - just one or the other.

Notice I said “OR” when talking about hard broiled eggs. So if you like protein on your salad too and you want the egg for protein, be sure to limit or leave off the other high calorie stuff.

Salad Savvy

Also, be careful with dried fruits, nuts and avocado. These, also, are good for you but, again, high in calories and I go into more detail on foods you would be surprised about- that can sabotage weight loss. It is extremely easy to add a little too much of each of these, or even a couple of these things on one salad (who doesn’t?) – Which means the high calorie items can add up.

Most obviously is being wise with the dressing. If you are ordering out, try to get a reduced fat or calorie choice then get it on the side and be sure not to drench it. 1 of those little mini ramekins contains enough to add about 300 calories of dressing. I choose light vinaigrette because they are usually going to be around 70-90 calories and they are still delicious!

Salad Savvy

Something I do at home is add water to my dressing, unless it is vinaigrette, because it thins it out which allows it to spread a little easier.  Plus, I get all the taste but half the calories.  Another idea is to use dressing by a company called Walden Farms.  They are all calorie free- admittedly some of them are taste free too but I used to mix 1 TBSP regular light dressing with 1 (or more) TBSP by Walden Farms.  This way the taste was off set by the regular dressing.  I liked the balsamic one better but I did not like any of them by themselves. 


Oh, and croutons…. Leave those off too because ½ oz is about 60 calories….. who knows what a ½ oz looks like anyway? Unless you are pulling out your handy dandy food scale everywhere you go, you probably aren’t used to knowing that!

So pile on the veggies but not the other stuff and you will have a savvy salad!!

2013-06-12 06.42.13

This is lettuce, tomato, a tiny bit of chopped green chili, a small amount of black olives, diced onion, chopped turkey and a few slices of avocado. I put crushed red pepper and black pepper on top.

Feel free to comment below if you have a favorite recipe you would like to share or any ideas at all.

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  1. Very good post. The salads that I WANT to eat are super high in calories. :-)

    I chuckle though, because so many people are eating the 'healthy' salads thinking that they are doing their body good and in reality they should have just had the burger and fries!

    1. Such a great example! Some salads really ARE the equivalent of a burger and fries and I suppose it is a step in the right direction. The next step for them will be learning how to make smarter salads!

  2. I love salads, but man oh man are they easy to FATTEN up.
    This weekend we went to Ruby Tuesdays and I had two portions from the salad bar.
    But, I think my choices were pretty good. And I always go light on the dressing.. especially if there is a fruit in my salad.. I find the juice of an orange, or the crisp of an apple/grape.. seems to help with the moisture value in my salad. So less dressing is necessary!


    Hope all is well.
    And now... I'm going to go eat my SALAD!

    1. LOL!! Yes, go eat your salad! If I'm going to have 2 servings of anything - I want it to be salad!

  3. That salad looks delicious! I like to cook my own hard boiled eggs and add them into my salad. I usually only use a little bit of feta cheese and an oil and vinegar dressing that is low fat. I agree loading up on the veggies makes it more filling without tons of calories.

    1. Sometimes the simple salads are the best ones!