Salads are among the most nutritious, versatile, exciting meals you can make — if you make the right choices. That’s because salads also can be a calorie-dense, oil-laden, health nightmare. The key is to know which ingredients to add and which ones to stay far-far away from. Here are some tips to help you choose the right ingredients.

  • Tip of the iceberg. Although iceberg is the most common lettuce, at 96% water, it is also the least nutritious. Spinach, on the other hand, boasts nearly twice the recommended daily value of vitamin K and is high in vitamin A, calcium, and iron. Romaine is high in vitamin A. Arugula is high in antioxidants. Mix them together or buy a bag of mixed greens for a delicious salad base.
  • Amp up the protein. Think grilled chicken, tuna, or salmon. Even meat-free options such as tofu can turn your basic side salad into a full-size meal.
  • Keep dressing on the side. Some dressings can pack as much as 200 calories and 20g fat per serving! Or shake on just a little salt, pepper, and olive oil for a blast of flavor.
  • Add a healthy crunch. Instead of croutons, add better crunch options ( nuts, seeds, Signature Zippers). You also can add a little crunch with vegetables, including radishes and sweet peppers.
  • Go easy on cheese. Cheese can be high in calories and sabotage even the healthiest of salads. If you simply must have cheese, opt for reduced-fat feta. It has a powerful flavor so you’ll only need a bit to get the flavor burst you desire.

This information is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be an exhaustive examination of the subject matter nor a substitute for medical advice. Always consult your primary care physician or healthcare provider before beginning any diet or exercise program.

Active Medi-Weightloss® patients should consult the experts at their location on whether the foods are appropriate for their stage of the program.