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Healthy Options at the Salad Bar

Choose This, Not That at the Salad Bar

Not all salads are created equal. A healthy layer of greens can be canceled out by high-calorie toppings and a dowsing of dressings, so the next time you're at the salad bar, make these little swaps both to save calories and to increase the nutrition of your salad.

Instead of romaine lettuce: Choose spinach instead of iceberg or romaine lettuce for a more nutritious salad base; spinach contains twice as much fiber (2 grams) and three times as much protein (3 grams) as romaine lettuce, and it's the fiber and protein that help fill you up.

Instead of croutons: Sprinkle your salad with seeds like sunflower or pumpkin. In place of empty carbs, you'll get the crunch, along with a healthy dose of omega-3 oils and protein.

Instead of salad dressing: Hummus is a highly nutritious addition to your salad. Aside from being a great source of protein, hummus is high in fiber, folate, and zinc. And not only that, but the spread's main ingredient, chickpeas, have been shown to aid in weight loss. Skip the premade salad dressings, and mix a scoop of hummus with a little bit of oil and vinegar for a creamy-tasting dressing without the fat and calories.

Instead of cheddar cheese: It may be one of the tastiest toppings, but cheese packs in a lot of calories per serving. Opt for a lower-calorie option when deciding, like mozzarella (81 calories per one-ounce serving vs 114 calories in one ounce of cheddar), or sub avocado instead.

Other tips to remember at the salad bar? Choose lean protein and raw nuts over candied, and steer clear of dried fruits in favor of the fresh variety.

Image Source: Thinkstock
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