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Whether you're at home or facing a tempting all-you-can-eat salad bar at a restaurant, these tips will keep fat and calories in check.
Creamy dressings can have more than 130 calories per serving, nearly all of them fat -- and not the healthiest type of fat, either. Ranch, cheese and mayo-based dressings are all culprits. Instead, a drizzle of vinegar and a spray of olive oil will dress your lettuce with few calories.
Protein can turn salad into a meal, but stay away from fatty meats, bacon and fried chicken or shrimp. Try grilled salmon or chicken instead.
Cheese may be the worst of the salad bar mistakes -- mounds of shredded cheese add hundreds of calories. If you want some cheesy taste, sprinkle on a tablespoon of grated Parmesan. Even better, add a few chunks of fresh avocado for its healthy fats and creamy feel.
Croutons and crispy noodles add crunch, but little nutrition and lots of calories. A few nuts and seeds can provide the same type of crunch plus great nutrients. But use a spoon, not a ladle, to add them judiciously because they're relatively high in calories (due to healthful fats). Just make sure they're not sugar-glazed or overly salty.
Finally, if you're ordering a salad from a menu, watch out for the vessel it's served in. A bread or taco bowl, for instance, is just like eating extra servings of carbs and fat. Enjoy the contents, but not the shell.
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