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Four steps for building a healthy Salad

Are there actually steps to building a healthy salad?? Sure! Some salads fill a plate but don’t satisfy our hunger while others are packed with more calories than a milkshake. As we look at our own options here at work, my dietitian-partner and I developed a few pointers in how to build a healthy salad:

Step 1: Fill your plate full with vegetables and fruit: Think fresh, vary the color, and go for deep-green lettuces to get the richest sources of vitamins and minerals.  Choose mostly vegetables low in calories.  You’re then on your way to fulfilling the 2010 Dietary Guidelines!

Step 2: Add 2-3 oz lean meat, beans and/or low-fat cheese: The addition of a lean protein helps build lean body mass (more muscle, less fat) AND increases fullness and satisfaction. Focus on lean & low fat. Watch portion sizes, to get the most without adding a load of extra calories!

Step 3: Add 1-2 tbsp low fat salad dressing: A hidden calorie trap – be mindful of serving sizes.  While some oil helps us best use the nutrients in the salad, keep portions to 1-2 Tbsp of a low calorie dressing.  Consider making your own dressing and limit the added oil.

Step 4: Add a low fat grain to complete the meal: Low fat, whole grain foods, filled with fiber, makes for a satisfied stomach.  Aim for whole grains with at least 2-3 grams fiber per serving.  Consider adding 1/3 cup cooked quinoa, couscous or whole wheat pasta to your salad (more whole grain ideas).

How to Build a Healthy Salad

Step 1

Step 2- Choose one

Step 3 – Choose one

Step 4 – Choose one

Fill your plate full with dark green lettuces, fresh colorful fruit and vegetables

2-3 oz white chicken, tuna packed in water, or lean beef/pork loin

1-2 Tbsp low fat salad dressing

6-10 whole grain, low fat crackers

½ cup low fat cottage cheese

Drizzle balsamic or other vinegar

1/3-1/2  cup cooked quinoa, couscous or whole wheat pasta

½ cup beans, 2 tbsp nuts or 1 tbsp natural peanut butter

Spritz your salad lightly with Salad spritzer

1-2 slices of 100% whole wheat bread

Check out Dayton Children’s Pinterest for salad recipe pins!

Check out me and my boys on Living Dayton talking about how to make salads fun for kids!

Making Salad Fun for Kids

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We have created this blog as a way to communicate key childrens' health and safety issues to parents and other child advocates. It is managed by Dayton Children's department of marketing communications. Comments can be sent to rodneyg@childrensdayton.org.