14 Ingredients for a Skinnier Salad

The wrong salad ingredients can be boring. Worse, they can sabotage your diet. But all the right stuff can make salad the ultimate delicious power lunch.
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A Slim Salad

Whipping together a salad is a simple way to get a load of disease-fighting nutrients in one meal and still keep your calories down. But watch out for salad saboteurs. The little extras people sprinkle on can have just as much fat as a cheeseburger and fries, says Cynthia Sass, RD, a spokesperson for the Chicago-based American Dietetic Association. But a healthy salad doesn't have to be a sad, tasteless affair. Here's how to build one that will be kind to your waistline and a joy to your taste buds.

Avocado

High in monounsaturated fat (the good kind), avocados are low in saturated fat and they're cholesterol free. How much: 1/4 cup, or a few slices

Salad Dressing

Use a low-calorie, low-fat, or nonfat dressing. How much: 2 tablespoons

Egg

Eggs are packed with protein. How much: Half of a hard-boiled egg

Nuts

Although high in fat, nuts are chock-full of protein, fiber, and minerals. Try walnuts, almonds, and cashews. How much: 1 tablespoon

Mushrooms

They boost the immune system and contain folate and selenium, an antioxidant that may help prevent certain cancers. How much: 1/4 cup

Cheese

Low-fat or nonfat cheese is a great source of protein as well as bone-building calcium. Try the low-fat cheddar or feta variety. Both are flavorful, so a little goes a long way. How much: 1/4 cup

Carrots

They're rich in beta-carotene, an antioxidant that may protect against heart disease and cancer. How much: 1/4 cup, shredded or sliced, or 5 to 6 baby carrots

Bell Peppers

They're bursting with vitamins A and C. If you consume just one raw red pepper, you can meet your daily requirements for both vitamins. How much: 1/4 cup

Broccoli and Cauliflower

Cruciferous vegetables like these contain fiber, vitamin C, and phytochemicals -- natural plant compounds that may guard against cancer. How much: 1/3 cup

Protein

Lean chicken breast and tofu are great, low-fat sources of protein. How much: Three ounces, about the size of your palm or a deck of cards

Dried Cranberries

Rich in vitamin C, they may protect against urinary tract infections. Skip the dried fruit if you're watching your sugar intake, however. How much: 2 tablespoons

Lettuce

The darker the leaf, the more nutrients it contains. So steer clear of iceberg lettuce and go for mixed field greens, romaine, or spinach. How much: 1 cup

Tomatoes

They contain vitamins A and C and lycopene, which may protect against prostate and colon cancers and, possibly, heart disease. How much: 1/3 cup

Beans

Chickpeas, kidney beans, and black beans are packed with folate, protein, and fiber. How much: 1/3 cup

Total: About 350 calories, 28 grams of healthy fat

Continued on page 2:  6 Fat Traps to Avoid

 

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