Freshman 15

I met a young lady who was complaining about the “Freshman 15” that she has gained thus far her freshman year at a university here in North Carolina. She couldn’t understand it; all she was eating was salads! She was eating healthy, or so she thought.

Once we talked, the light bulb that went off over her head was blinding. It occurred to me that if this bright coed on full academic scholarship was confused about the calorie content of salads, then she wasn’t alone! So I wanted to write about this and share with y’all.

The bottom line? All salads are not created equal. And sometimes good salads go bad. Let’s break it down.

1) Iceberg lettuce is pretty dismal nutritionally speaking. Look at it, no color=no nutrition. Choose other lettuces if you can.

2) You will not go wrong with raw veggies—pile them on. Remember to eat by color (dark green leaves, bright orange carrot shreds, radishes, onions, etc.).

3) Watch the add-ons, like croutons, cheese, bacon bits, hard boiled egg, bean salad (plain beans, yes. However, bean salad is usually swimming in fatty dressing).

4) Speaking of dressing, BINGO, that’s the kicker. Just ONE tablespoon of ranch dressing is 73 calories with 7 grams of fat. 1 ladle full of dressing equals 2 to 6 tablespoons of dressing! Do the math!! YIKES!

5) Bread aside. If you’re only having a salad for lunch or dinner, it would seem logical to pile on the bread. Then add some butter to that. Yep, you’re right…just more insult to that injury!

So there you have it…a seemingly innocent salad taking up residence in my poor friend’s thighs and all because she didn’t know!

Now she does know better and so do you. CHOOSE carefully when eating salads. And remember, if you’re going out to a restaurant and order a salad as your entrée, you might want to look it up before you order. One time I ordered a Grilled Chicken Ceasar Salad from Chili’s or Applebees or one of those places, thinking it was the best choice and ended up my day’s worth of calories in that one meal!

Here’s to the light bulb on enlightenment! May yours go off continuously this New Year!

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