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The Salad Craze

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Penny Pinching Epicure: The Salad Craze

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Salad Craze


I am continually shocked to see the lines for salad restaurants out the door and around the block. I understand there is a salad craze on right now--however, I think there is also a rather erroneous idea that salads are by definition healthier than a sandwich or some other lunch item. In fact, salads can often have higher fat and calorie counts (dressing, croutons and other salad accoutrement add much more than you actually get out of them), and don't keep you full as long so you end up eating more, sooner.

I eat salads for lunch frequently, and they can be filling and healthy if you make sure you have the right combination of fiber, protein, starch and a bit of fat. Here are the ingredients I like to use, broken out by category; you can do an awful lot of mixing and matching so you don't have to worry about getting bored!

greens:
spinach
arugula
romaine
baby lettuce
spring mix
radicchio
endive

veggies:
cucumber
tomato
peppers
avocado
radish
zucchini
yellow squash
fennel
carrots
celery
scallions

fruit:
strawberries
mango
pear
apple
blueberries
cherries

protein:
chickpeas or other beans
grilled chicken breast, salmon or tuna
canned salmon or tuna
feta or goat cheese
cubed tofu

starch:
beans
corn
rice
quinoa
pasta
millet
lentils

additions: (in moderation)
dried cranberries
slivered almonds
candied nuts (pecans, walnuts)
toasted pine nuts
crunchy asian noodles

dressing:
drizzle of olive oil
drizzle of sesame oil
balsamic vinegar
red wine vinegar
rice vinegar

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