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Strategies for Salad Bar Survival

Not Every Salad is Diet-Friendly
  -- By Becky Hand, Licensed & Registered Dietitian
The infamous salad bar, available everywhere from work cafeterias to family restaurants, can round out a meal with a wholesome side dish, or be a meal all by itself. What could be more healthy and nutritious? Those vegetables and fruits can be loaded with a variety of nutrients, including beta-carotene, vitamins A and C, potassium, folic acid and fiber.

However, the salad bar can also be filled with dangerous landmines, ready to blow your calorie intake to smithereens! In fact, if you’re not careful, you can innocently fill that salad plate with items that add up to over 1,000 calories—more than a burger and fries or a steak and potato dinner!

Take the safe path and apply these strategies to avoid salad bar traps:
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Use the following guide to chart your course while maneuvering through your next salad bar excursion: 

Salad Bar Guide
Food
Amount
Calories
Fat Grams
Vegetables
Artichoke Hearts 1/4 Cup 20 Trace
Avocado 1/4 Cup 75 8
Bean Sprouts 1/4 Cup 8 Trace
Beets 1/4 Cup 15 0
Bell Pepper 2 Tbsp 3 Trace
Broccoli 1/4 Cup 6 Trace
Carrot, shredded 1/4 Cup 15 Trace
Cauliflower 1/4 Cup 6 Trace
Cucumber 1/4 Cup 4 Trace
Green Peas 2 Tbsp 30 Trace
Lettuce 1 Cup 10 Trace
Mushrooms 1/4 Cup 5 Trace
Olives, ripe 2 Tbsp 30 4
Radishes 2 Tbsp 2 Trace
Spinach 1 Cup 10 Trace
Tomato 1/4 Cup 15 Trace
Fruits
Fruit Cocktail, canned in juice 1/4 Cup 35 0
Mandarin Oranges, in juice 1/4 Cup 25 0
Melon, fresh 1/4 Cup 15 0
Peaches, canned in juice 1/4 Cup 25 0
Pineapple, canned in juice 1/4 Cup 35 0
Raisins 2 Tbsp 60 0
Strawberries, fresh 1/4 Cup 10 0
Beans, Nuts, Seeds
Chickpeas 1/4 Cup 40 < 1
Kidney Beans 1/4 Cup 55 Trace
Sunflower Seeds 1 Tbsp 80 7
Meat, Poultry, Fish, Eggs
Eggs, chopped 2 Tbsp 25 2
Ham, chopped 1 oz 35 1
Shrimp 1 oz 30 < 1
Turkey 1 oz 35 < 1
Tuna, canned in water 1 oz 35 < 1
Cheese, Dairy
Cottage Cheese, creamed 1/4 Cup 60 3
Cottage Cheese, 1% low fat 1/4 Cup 40 < 1
Cheddar Cheese 2 Tbsp 55 5
Mozzarella Cheese 2 Tbsp 40 4
Parmesan Cheese 2 Tbsp 45 3
Others
Chow Mein Noodles 1 Tbsp 15 <1
Croutons 1/4 Cup 27 4
Bacon Bits 1 Tbsp 25 2
Mixed Salads
Cole Slaw 1/4 Cup 45 5
Macaroni Salad 1/4 Cup 100 10
Potato Salad 1/4 Cup 100 10
Tuna Salad 1/4 Cup 190 10
Three Bean Salad 1/4 Cup 60 0
Dressings
Blue Cheese 2 Tbsp 155 15
Italian 2 Tbsp 160 15
French 2 Tbsp 135 15
Italian, low calorie 2 Tbsp 15 0
Lemon Juice 2 Tbsp 8 0
Oil and Vinegar 2 Tbsp 100 8
1000 Island 2 Tbsp 120 10
Vinegar 2 Tbsp 4 0