Salads can be a good way to get your daily nutrients. Salads can be a good way to increase your daily intake of fiber, too. However, not all salads are healthy or nutritious. It depends on what is in the salad.
Prepare salads with colorful vegetables. If you have plenty of fresh vegetables in the salad, then you are getting healthy, disease-fighting nutrients.
Beware of the extra items you add to your vegetable salads.
Use salad dressing or added fats in moderation. Large amounts of salad dressing or added fats can turn a healthy, low-calorie salad into a very high-calorie meal.
Chunks of cheese, bacon bits, nuts, and seeds can increase the amount of sodium, fat, and calories in a salad.
At the salad bar, add-ons such as coleslaw, potato salad, and creamy fruit salads can increase calories and fat.
Add variety to your salad with high-fiber, lower calorie items such as legumes (beans), raw vegetables, fresh and dried fruit.
Alison Evert, MS, RD, CDE, Nutritionist, University of Washington Medical Center Diabetes Care Center, Seattle, Washington. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.