by Jenny Gaal, Fitness Director

fresh mixed vegetable salad studio shots
fresh mixed vegetable salad studio shots

Salad…the word alone makes you think “healthy,” right?   However, there are both bad ways to build one–and decidedly good ones.  Here is a guideline to creating the healthiest salad feast:

The Best
Crunchy veggies!  They make you feel full, and the very act of chewing them actually helps you enjoy eating your meal more.  Most important vegetables are high in fiber and vitamins.

  • Cucumber
  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Bell pepper


But don’t stop there… including a source of lean protein to your salad completes a meal, containing the amino acids you need to build and maintain muscle.

  • Chicken breast
  • Tuna
  • White fish
  • Egg whites


The Worst
The funny thing about salad bars is that they usually have temptations that are creamy, high in fat, or just empty, nutrition-wise, all of which can send your otherwise-healthy salad into the calorie stratosphere.  Nuts, cheese, and dried cranberries can make a salad really fun to eat, but they can add calories too- it’s OK to add them- only in true moderation. The veggies and protein are the stars of the meal. Here are the toppings packed with sodium and sugar to avoid (or at least not totally pile on):

  • Wontons
  • Tortilla strips
  • Fried chicken
  • Croutons
  • Pasta
  • Dried fruits
  • Bacon
  • Starchy veggies (like corn niblets or potatoes)