Researchers from Penn State University recently conducted a study to see if eating a salad before a meal would have an impact on the amount of calories eaten at the entire meal. Here’s what they found:
•?Eating a large salad that is low in calories before your meal may help you eat fewer calories at your meal. This is because the salad is low in calorie density and it makes you feel fuller on fewer calories. But not all salads are created equal – read the next bullet!
• However, if your salad is loaded with cheese, bacon bits and croutons and has a large amount of a fatty salad dressing, then total calories consumed at the meal will likely be much higher compared to skipping salad.
Try to serve a large low-cal salad before meals you prepare at home. When you go out to eat, ask the server to bring a large tossed salad with the dressing on the side and hold the bread.
It Doesn’t Have to Be Just Lettuce
• Greens – Instead of always choosing the same lettuce, experiment with different kinds of greens such as romaine, bibb, red leaf or even a mesclun mix.
• Vegetables – Using a variety of vegetables in your salads helps add more color, crunch and fiber. Keep salads interesting with vegetables that are in season.
•?Fruits – Fruit adds fun sweet and sour flavors to salad. Consider orange segments, pomegranite seeds, diced mangos, cubed pears or apples for your next creation.
•?Nuts – While nuts are high in calorie density, they are also high in nutrient density and flavor. A few of them go a long way to add crunch and flavor. Consider chopped pecans, almonds or walnuts.
• Flavored vinegars – There are lots of varieties to choose from, including balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar, vinegar flavored with herbs and raspberry vinegar. A small amount of oil and vinegar is a better choice than high-sodium prepared mixes.
• Herbs and seasonings – Cracked black pepper, dried oregano, fresh parsley and fresh basil are excellent choices to add flavor to salad.
Judy’s passion for cooking began with helping her grandmother make raisin oatmeal for breakfast. From there she earned her first food service job at 15, was accepted to the world famous Culinary Institute of America at 18 (where she graduated second in her class), and went on to the Fachschule Richemont in Switzerland where she focused on pastry arts and baking. But after learning that the quality of a croissant directly varies with how much butter it has, Judy sought to challenge herself by coming up with recipes that were as healthy as they were tasty.
Judy received The Culinary Institute of America’s Pro Chef II certification, the American Culinary Federation Bronze Medal, Gold Medal, and ACF Chef of the Year. Her enthusiasm for eating nutritiously and deliciously leads her to constantly innovate and use the latest in nutritional science to guide her creativity, from putting new twists on fajitas to adapting Italian brownies to include ingredients like toasted nuts and cooked honey. Judy’s publishing company, Food and Health Communications, is dedicated to her vision that everyone can make food that tastes as good as it is for you.