Don't fool yourself into thinking that all salads are healthy. There are many fat traps lurking at the salad bar—you just need to know how to avoid them! With a few simple swap outs, you can build a satisfying salad that won't derail your diet.
Start with a healthy base
A good rule of thumb when picking lettuce: the darker the leaf, the more nutritious. Swap out pale iceberg for vitamin-packed romaine, spinach or radicchio. Two other nutritional powerhouses are potassium-rich endive and red cabbage, which is loaded with phytonutrients.
Load up on the right veggies
Not all vegetables are created equal. Fill your plate with smart picks: carrots, peas and broccoli. A colorful mix will provide you with a variety of nutrients. Beware of anything drenched in oil, such as sun-dried tomatoes; instead opt for fresh tomatoes, an excellent source of lycopene.
Pump up protein
Protein is a must-have to keep you satisfied. Just don't reach for anything battered and fried. Stick with lean proteins like skinless chicken or turkey, salmon or tuna. If you want a vegetarian option, go for legumes. Half a cup of canned beans packs 6 grams of fiber and more than a quarter of your daily protein for about 100 calories.