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My Salad Has How Many Calories!?

Calories in a Standard Salad

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The “light lunch” pictured here contains more than 1,000 calories! Read on and pile your plate high without widening your waistline with these slimming swaps.

Swap Croutons for Crackers

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Red light: whole-wheat croutons (80 calories for 8). Whole-wheat equals healthy, right? Not when it’s been brushed with butter before being toasted.

Green light: crumble two saltines over your salad for 25-calorie crunch. Other on-the-lighter-side toppings with satisfying snap: water chestnuts and jicama.

Change Up Your Chicken

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Red light: crispy chicken (380 calories for 4.5 oz). “Crispy” is code for “fried.” Also, beware the term “panko-crusted”; it’s just a fancy way of saying the chicken has been breaded.

Green light: with all the hunger-sating protein but about 250 fewer calories, a grilled chicken breast is a much better bet.

Choose Cheese Wisely

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Red light: blue cheese (100 calories per oz). Stilton, roquefort, and gorgonzola are good sources of calcium and protein, but they’re also high in calories—not to mention saturated fat.

Green light: feta contains 25 fewer calories and 2 fewer grams of fat, while goat cheese bumps your calorie savings to 50.

Can the Cranberries

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Red light: dried cranberries (92 calories for 1/4 cup). Berries are loaded with fiber, but the dried version has seven times more calories than the same amount of fresh fruit.

Green light: for a hint of sweetness, choose mandarin oranges, strawberries, or grapes to trim about 60 calories.

Dress is Right

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Yellow light: vinaigrette (260 calories for 1/4 cup). A ladleful packs almost as many calories as a cup of spaghetti topped with marinara sauce!

Green light: serve this up with a teaspoon, or make your own dressing by drizzling on a little olive oil and as much red wine vinegar as you’d like.

Go Nuts

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Yellow light: walnuts (185 calories for 14). It’s true that the 18 grams of fat in these is the heart-healthy kind, but you have to take calories into account too.

Green light: this is one add-on that’s not off-limits. Just sprinkle ’em on in moderation—and make sure they’re the only nut or seed in your salad.

Check out these salad shockers. We uncover the calories hidden in salads from your favorite restaurants.