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After last week's foray into cookies-I thought I'd now talk about something lighter:  salads

I love salads.  They are easy to throw together, easy to adapt to your own particular diet and likes and, if you use low/non fat ingredients, they are extremely figure friendly.  

Remember the days of salad bars?  I sure do.  My friends and I would head for one at the Sizzler or Marie Callendar's close to our Cal State Fullerton campus after our dance classes.  In those days, we were able-bodied women who spent most of our college careers running in high heels, leotards and wraparound skirts from one academic class to a dance class and back.  So if we went to the said salad bars and piled on the pasta or potato salad and the marinated 3 bean salad and used the croutons and bacon bits-we still claimed it low cal and ate it all with gusto!  

WE WERE FOOLS!  Not only was this conglomeration high in fat and calories, we were all lucky we didn't give ourselves high cholesterol and heart conditions.  Okay-I don't have those things, despite family history, yet.  I haven't actually gotten an answer out of my two classmates.  One is still teaching dance.  The other has health issues, but not these.  I myself, have chronic problems, just none of them having to do with food or food related illnesses.  

Let's talk about what not to do when deciding to eat a salad.
If you want to truly eat healthy consider these hints (I'm sure most of you know them, but reviewing is not necessarily a bad thing):

DO NOT:
Add mayonnaise based salads (i.e. pasta, potato, cole slaw).  Obviously, unless you have personally made them and used non-fat mayo-you are adding a whole lot of fat and calories to your plate.

Add marinated salads.  Again, like the mayo-these might look light and healthy, but half (or more) of all marinades are fat.  Even if you have a slotted spoon, the oil does get into the rest of the food.

Add croutons, bacon bits, fried noodles or if they are offered-fried tortilla shell.  These might taste fabulous, but ladies, they are not healthy; they're loaded with fat and literally hundreds of calories.

WHAT TO ENJOY:

Besides all the USUAL fresh veggies-try to add something you have never tried before!  For the crunch you usually get from the fried goodies, try jicama.  It is a South American root vegetable.  Tasting like a cross between an apple and a potato, it's both sweet and crunchy.  I love to carve this one up and dip it into hummus!  Tastes better than celery.  Try different color peppers.  Yes they all taste the same,  

Think about adding some fruit.  Dried cranberries, raisins or other dried fruits.   Watch it though, a few go a long way and like most dried fruit that calorie content goes up pretty darn fast!
Strawberries, pears, apples or mandarin oranges are always great!  Adding some halved grapes to your chicken salads (sans the mayo) is really a nice change of pace.  

Try some different greens-used to only iceberg?  Go for spinach, wild field greens, romaine or butter.  Try a cabbage salad with a vinegar based dressing.  My family's favorite slaw is one made with rice wine vinegar and soy sauce with a little vegetable oil and a couple of teaspoons of sesame oil.

Wednesday, my favorite spinach salad!



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