Healthy Salad Bar and Deli Choices

healthty salad and deli choices
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If you were to ask around at a typical office any given day, there would be two places that most workers hit for a healthy lunch several times a week: the nearest salad bar and the deli down the street.

The salad bar may sound healthy, but believe it or not, you can pile up as many calories in a salad as you get in a fast-food burger in a matter of moments. And common deli foods can be downright diet-decimating.

But it's a snap to make smart choices there if you know what to eat and what to avoid. Here are some pointers on how to make healthy salad bar and deli choices.

How to Eat Healthy at the Salad Bar

At the salad bar, load up on all the vegetables you like. Do this first so you fill your bowl or plate with low calorie, fiber rich foods and have less room for high calorie and high fat choices. Choose spinach, mixed greens and romaine lettuce and then add iceberg lettuce for extra crunch. Then grab colorful veggies like red peppers, orange slices, bright red tomatoes and even purple potatoes.

Then be smart about your topping selections and dressing. Many are high in fat. Of course, that doesn't mean you should swear-off fat entirely. Fat improves the absorption of antioxidants which are provided in the vegetables so a little bit is just fine. But your body will benefit if you choose healthy fats like sunflower seeds, almond slivers, olives, and olive oil.

Avoid fried noodles, croutons, and other fried foods.

It's also important to get some protein in your salad so it will have the staying power to get you through the afternoon. Be sure to add a lean protein source, such as chicken breast, shrimp, egg whites, beans and tuna. Protein helps to provide a sense of fullness.

Salad dressing is a diet-killer, so if there isn't a diet-friendly one available, choose a regular one and request in to be placed on the side. Then try dipping your fork in it before you spear your next bite of salad. And lastly, hold the cheese if it comes topped with anything but a low-fat variety. Steer clear of pasta salads that are loaded with fat in mayo or oil.

What to Eat at the Deli to Lose Weight

At the deli, choose whole-grain bread or rolls. These choices will provide more fiber and better nutrition and keep you feeling fuller longer than white bread products.

Then begin to build smart diet-friendly salad layers. As with building a smart salad, a good, healthy protein source is the key to a sandwich with staying-power. The best pick? Salmon is a good source of protein and healthy omega-3 fat. Lean deli turkey will also give you energy. Which protein should you avoid? Forget tuna, egg and chicken salad because they are loaded with saturated fat and calories.

Then make smart choices about condiments.

To save save calories choose dijon mustard instead of that typical turkey companion, mayo. Or choose to spread a small amount of avocado for creamienss. Avocado is a source of healthy fat. And forget chips or sides like potato salad. They're loaded with calories. Grab a side of carrot sticks or a piece of fruit instead.

If you aren't a fan of sandwiches, there are other deli options that work for dieters. Soup and salad are often ideal choices at the deli. Choose soup, such as lentil soup, for a fiber boost. Vegetarian chili and soup are a great choice because the fiber will help you stay full. And build a salad with the tips above for a filling and satisfying meal.

And the best tip to make your visit to the salad bar or deli more diet-friendly. Walk there. You'll burn extra calories and your body will benefit from the daily movement.

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