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   Dietician Stresses Keys To Keeping A Salad Nutritious
by Jeff Caponigro, Medi-Weightloss Clinics
Posted: Friday, December 3, 2010 at 1:25PM EST

TAMPA, Fla. -- Holiday season is prime time for over-eating, bulging waist lines, and diets too easily ignored until the New Year’s resolutions kick in. But, alas, selecting a nutritious salad for dinner certainly will get things back on track, right? Not necessarily so, according to dietitian and nutritionist Chelsey Millstone, MS, RD LD/N from Medi-Weightloss Clinics®, one of the nation’s largest providers of physician-supervised weight loss programs.

“The word ‘salad’ doesn’t automatically mean it is nutritious,” said Millstone. “For instance, a single-serving size of a taco salad from Taco Bell® has 906 calories and 49 grams of fat. It is important to realize what makes or breaks the nutritious value and benefits of a salad. Not all are created equal, by any means.”

Millstone believes there are three keys to keeping a salad healthy: 1) the type and quality of the lettuce; 2) additions to the salad such as cheese, meat, fish, vegetables or fruit; and, perhaps most importantly, 3) the variety and quantity of the dressing used on the salad.

“Although lettuce consists primarily of water, it does contain some nutrients that have antioxidant benefits and vitamin C, potassium and fiber, and is low in sodium and high in vitamin A,” said Millstone. “However, some lettuce varieties such as iceberg contain very little nutritional value, while dark-green-leaf lettuce contains great benefit, including beta carotene, which may reduce the risk of developing some forms of cancer. Romaine lettuce is highly nutritious, and is an excellent source of vitamins A, K, and C; beta carotene; manganese; chromium; and other nutrients.”

In addition to the variety of lettuce used, Millstone said the additional items in a salad can be the difference between nutritious and not-so-healthy. A healthy salad can include vegetables such as mushrooms, peppers, cucumbers, broccoli, and cauliflower; fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, mandarin-oranges slices, pineapple, and kiwi; no-salt almonds, pine nuts, and walnuts for omega-3 benefits; and low-fat protein sources such as chicken, fish, egg whites, and lean cuts of meat.

“The nutritional value of many salads is ruined by piling on high-fat cheese and red meat,” said Millstone. “And, it is so important to stay away from anything breaded and deep-fried, from meats to croutons.”

Millstone said perhaps the single, biggest factor to a healthy salad is the dressing too often liberally poured and underestimated for its nutritional importance. An otherwise nutritious salad with high-quality lettuce and other healthy additions can be ruined with the salad dressing, according to Millstone. For instance, a 2 Tbsp serving of Wishbone® Chunky Blue Cheese dressing contains 150 calories and 15g fat. For the same serving size, Hidden Valley Original Ranch dressing has 140 calories and 14g fat. Even “light” varieties can be misleading to some. For the same 2 Tbsp serving size, Newman’s Own® Light Balsamic dressing has 45 calories, 4g fat and 2g sugar; Kraft® Light House Italian dressing has 50 calories, 3.5g fat and 2g sugar; and, Wishbone® Light Asian with Sesame & Ginger Vinaigrette has 70 calories, 5g fat and 5g sugar.

Medi-Weightloss Clinics® recently launched its own brand of salad dressings. For the 2 Tbsp serving size, its dressings range from 15 to 25 calories and each contains 0g fat and 0g sugar. The three varieties – Parmesan Peppercorn, Sesame Ginger, and Hot & Sour Dipping Sauce – are sold in boxes of 12 individually sealed cups for both convenience (to take on the go) and assistance in portion control. They also do not require refrigeration. They are available for purchase over the internet on or in the over 80 locations across the U.S.A.

“Those who come to Medi-Weightloss Clinics® look to us for nutritional guidance and often don’t know what to prepare for their meals at home or to order in a restaurant,” said Millstone. “Many tell us they just always order a salad without giving much thought to the salad dressing used – figuring it would accommodate their weight-loss regimen just because it was a salad. Medi-Weightloss Clinics® is striving to meet the needs of our patients by producing our own line of salad dressings. Each has received rave reviews by those who are surprised by the great taste and love the individually sealed cups for convenience and portion control.”

Source: Medi-Weightloss Clinics

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