Lite Wasn’t Bright


      I had plans to join a friend at a local restaurant  yesterday and knew it was important to do a little pre-planning so I would stay on track nutritionally. They don’t have online calorie counts for their foods but I was able to visit sites of some similar restaurants and get some pretty good estimations for their chef’s salad which is primarily lettuce, tomato, cucumber, onion, shredded cheese, ham, and turkey. I opted to go with a light version of their ranch dressing  on the side but when it arrived I found that it had very little flavor. I generously salted and peppered and let the dressing go. It wasn’t bad. It was a great reminder of two things I should already know.  First, often spices and herbs can add just as much or more enjoyment to a meal as sauces and dressings. In the future I might ask for them to hold the dressing but to sprinkle my salad with some oregano from the kitchen. Second, if I am going to enjoy dressings or spreads, low-fat is frequently so unsatisfying that I feel terribly let down. I need to budget calories to allow for the occasion enjoyment of “the real deal”. There are some exceptions. I have found that mayonnaise, butter spreads, and dressings that substitute “better fats” such as olive oil can frequently be a good choice that is both satisfying and more diet friendly. Either way, a good salad can be a great choice but make sure you know that you are picking a “healthy” salad loaded with low-calorie ingredients. Don’t be fooled into thinking anything that says “salad” is automatically low-calorie.

     Is a salad a good food choice for you? If you haven’t read “Skip the Salad?” check out that blog post for some advice on avoiding salad pit-falls.

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