Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Salad Power

A lot of people lament that dieting means they can only eat salads.  Well, don't underestimate the power of a salad.  They don't have to be boring.  You can dress them tons of different ways.  They can be a side dish, main meal or a snack. 

I recently went to Wendy's and tried their new Berry Almond Chicken Salad.  It was awesome!  I came home and tried to recreate it.  I bought Ken's Raspberry Pecan dressing.  I LOVED it and it is 50 calories for 2 tablespoons.  The picture doesn't show strawberries as I didn't have any at the time but I've made this plenty of time with the strawberries. I choose not to add the almonds as they the fruit is so flavorful, I don't really taste the almonds.  Here is the recipe with 3 tablespoons of dressing which is a lot, you could easily get away with 2.

Berry Salad
BIG bowl of lettuce
10 raspberries
25 blueberries
1/2 cup strawberry halves
3 tbsp. Ken's Raspberry Pecan dressing (this is a lot)
Total calories = 160 calories

Add some protein to make it a meal.  For about 150 calories, you can add 1/2 cup chickpeas, 3 oz. cooked chicken breast, OR 5 oz. turkey lunch meat.   

If you prechop veggies and have them in the refrigerator, it's a snap to throw together a gorgeous salad for the family for dinner.  When I have company, I'll dress it pretty like this and then toss but most the time we just fix our own a la carte with whatever veggies are on hand.

I use a lot of light dressings.  Zesty Fat Free Italian is awesome as it is just 15 calories for 2 tablespoons.  Another favorite is Paula Deens Peach Salad Dressing which is also only 15 calories for 2 tablespoons.  I don't know about you, but I like to get as much bang for my buck when it comes to food. So if I can save a bunch of calories on dressing I will! 

We love taco night.  Everyone can build their own tacos just the way they want!  Here is my Naked Chicken Burrito Bowl.  The family usually puts theirs on tortillas but I prefer it as a salad. Use chicken or ground turkey for a fantastic meal.  This salad has cheese but usually I opt to skip the cheese and add a dollop of light sour cream instead.  This is a tasty, nutritious and highly filling meal.  Measure your portions and this can come in easily under 400 calories for a huge salad. 

Here's another night of taco salad. I will often make the Taco Meat ahead of time in a huge batch and freeze it.  Then it's ready to be pulled out for a quick and easy meal anytime.  3 oz. of ground turkey Taco Meat, 1/2 cup salsa, 2 tbsp. light sour cream, a whole bunch of lettuce and maybe some onions and tomatoes will come in easily under 400 calories.   

Then there is the simple side salad that can accompany any meal.  I love just a simple bed of greens and a couple of tablespoons of my favorite dressing, Ken's Sweet Vidalia Onion lite. It's a bit higher in calorie but oh-so nummy!  80 calories for 2 tablespoons plus a bit of lettuce for 100 - 110 calories.  Perfect. 

Tuesday Eat's
Egg beaters, laughing cow cheese & english muffin = 175
Ritz crackers & jelly = 390
Turkey sandwich = 250
Banana = 100
Special K Protein bar = 170
2 Sloppy Joes w/homemade sauce = 450
Blueberries = 50
Total = 1585

So much for salads today, huh?  I woke up hungry and ate my egg sandwich early. I usually eat something else around 10 or 10:30 but forgot and then at about 11:30 I was all of a sudden SUPER hungry!  I gave the baby some ritz crackers, took the jelly out for the other kids' lunch and sadly, went to town and started eating crackers and jelly.  I've so done this before.  The weird thing is I did count and measure too, which I guess is good.  I just kept rationalizing, "Well, I guess this is what I'm having for lunch so it's okay to have more." Then an hour later felt stupid for eating it and proceeded to eat my already scheduled lunch.

I could have made up some difference by only having 1 of the sloppy joes but they were super tasty so I ate 2.  Grr.  I know how to do 1200 calories, I WANT to do 1200 calories but lazy me wins a lot of the time. It won today. 


  1. Debbi,
    Have you tried Marzetti's new Simply Dressed dressings? The Pomegranate is excellent. Way better than the Paula Deen, in my opinion. It is 60 calories for 2 Tbsp, but it seems to me that you don't have to use much on your salad.
    I am a Debbi too!

  2. Those salads look yummy! I too get lazy, which is why I have a hard time either getting all my calories in or keeping within them, if I begin making bad choices... which I haven't done yet:-) I get home & I almost rather not eat then make something... I regret it if I don't though so I need to just do it. Speaking of which, I should go do that now!

  3. Ah Salads...my favorite summer dinner when the temps start creeping upward from 100 degrees. No stove, no oven, no crockpot.

    Another favorite dressing? Kens raspberry walnut lite. In any salad with feta cheese. Yum!

  4. These pictures are making me want salad soooo bad. I have been trying to come up with different toppings for salad lately also. I've tried feta cheese for the first time in my life and love it. I also like to add wheatberries on top.

    Thanks for sharing all these ideas :)

  5. I have learned to really dress a salad up and make it soooo yummy. I only wish I did it sooner in life!


  6. Your family is very lucky to have such a talented cook in the kitchen!

  7. I noticed you are using Ken's Lite, we have that at a local Kroger and I have considered buying it but detest most "lite" dressings. Is it tasty?

  8. Those are some great looking salads, Debbi! There are so many ways to make a salad that I only get bored when I'm lazy and keep making it the same way. :) You know, you didn't do too bad even with the crackers. It could have been much worse! I went crazy with the Nutella a few days ago. Can we talk thousands of calories??

  9. Your salads look delicious! I've also been experimenting with salads, and I've been adding toasted nuts to mine as I am in desperate need of protein. Thanks for sharing your journey!

  10. I wondered if that Wendy's salad was good. I love your new creation! Can't wait to try it! I have that dressing in the fridge!

  11. Those salads look great. I have got to try that berry salad.
    We love the Ken's Lite Honey Mustard dressing. I love making my salad slightly different each time so as to not become bored with it. One thing I tried years ago is to put tomatoes and avocado in the food processor and use that for dressing.
    We love romaine and spinach with lots of veges and it is always a plus if we can get some avocado (though they are so expensive). We will mix up some tuna and mayo (I know, not the best) but we use it as our dressing. I just can't eat the stuff dry. I also love to add raisins for some sweetness.


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