Keeping salads healthy: Hidden calories

Keep your salad healthy by making smart choices about added toppings.

We all enjoy a good salad bar and flavorful salads with lots of color. It is hard to think of being careful of the lurking calories that exist in that bountiful salad bowl. It is important to know and eat within the recommended dietary guidelines; and that includes salad dressings, sauces and toppings on our healthy salad.

To help maintain a healthy salad chose grilled chicken instead of fried or crispy. This choice allows a little bit of wiggle room for calories to come from other hidden items. Michigan State University Extension recommends adding more plain vegetables to your salad. You can have a variety of flavor and color when making the choice to add an extra cucumber or tomato to your salad.

Dressing can carry a multitude of hidden calories. These calories can easily be shaved by choosing low-fat or fat-free varieties of dressing. Know your dressing by reading the label while at home or when shopping. The label will tell you how much is recommended and how many calories are in that amount. When you are able, always measure your dressing and put it on the side. Salad dressing is meant to enhance the flavor of the vegetables – not cover them up.

According to a study reported on, there may be more choices appearing on a menu but they are not always healthy. Everything we add changes the contents of calories. Make a choice to enjoy the flavor of salad.

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