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Low Fat Salads

My co-worker, Sue, and I usually go out to lunch once each week. Since both of us are watching our weight, she subscribes to Weight Watcher's and I subscribe to a modified low fat/low carbohydrate plan. We find ourselves choosing the salad bar at a local restaurant. It always astounds me that many people think that if they simply choose the salad bar for lunch or dinner, that they are eating low fat. That is far from true. In fact, many salad bars are really buffet bars, offering sugar and fat-laden options to top perfectly low fat greens.

Consider the following high fat salads, and how you can modify them to maintain their tastiness, yet be completely low fat:

  • Taco salad. High-fat taco salad contains cheese, guacamole, sour cream, refried beans, ground beef, and nacho chips. A low fat version of taco salad contains a wider variety of greens, including iceberg and romaine lettuces and spinach; toppings can include lean ground turkey, fat-free cheeses, cherry tomatoes, low fat sour cream, and fat-free dressings.
  • Cobb salad. High-fat Cobb salads contain many foods that are extremely high in fat, including bacon, bleu cheese, avocados, and creamy dressings. Choose to make a low-fat Cobb salad by including the greater portion of salad greens, topped with tomatoes, low fat cheeses, imitation low fat bacon bits, and low fat dressings.
  • Chef salad. High-fat chef salads are simply meat-and-cheese sandwiches without the bread. They include several strips of ham, turkey, and roast beef. The salad is topped with two boiled eggs, halved, and several kinds of shredded cheese, including American, cheddar, mozzarella, and Swiss. Added to that are a handful of croutons and heavy dressing. Instead, substitute low fat cheeses and dressings, and choose one type of lean meat to add to your salad to make it low fat.

The easiest way to choose a low fat lifestyle is to use an online food tracker, such as the one found at http://www.fitday.com. It is free to sign up and use, and best of all you can input brand name items, or even create your own items. The tracker will let you know how many calories, protein, fat, and carbohydrates you are consuming. I like to use the tracker before I go to a restaurant, since I can choose which items from the menu I can eat before I arrive. That way, I know in advance how may calories I will consume with my meal, and I won't need to worry about it.

 

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