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  • Writer's pictureAlist Nation

Salad comes 1st

Starting a meal with a salad is never a bad idea. Restaurants don’t mind since they are fast to make and can keep you occupied while your food is being cooked. At home, salad is a great introduction to green vegetables for children and will help with digestion. When you are ravenous and ready to eat, don’t skip the salad, rather use it to offset eating second and third helpings of the meal ahead. It is such a convenient way to get a few servings of vegetables and even fruit as part of your balanced diet. There even salads that come pre-made and bagged, so there is really no excuse. Some fast food chains even have them on their $1 menus.

People who frequently eat salads have higher blood levels of antioxidants which help protect the body from damage by free radicals. Salads are packed with vitamins C and E, beta carotene, and folic acid. Even more so, they are filled with fiber. A high fiber diet can help lower cholesterol and keep constipation away. Topping a salad with a little avocado and olive oil which is a mono-saturated fat, can help you consume health fats.

When you start a meal with salad, you are setting yourself up to save calories. You head into the meal feeling more full. The key is to have more salad filled with greens, not salad dressing. The intention is that the salad will help you not overeat. A salad doesn’t just have to be a meal starter, in fact, eat enough, and it is an entire meal. It is also a great alternative to a snack that used to be a bag of chips. Salad also can be tossed up so many different ways. It can be loaded with a variety of vegetables, a little fruit, a few nuts, different proteins, and there are plenty of light dressings to add.

Salads can also derail a diet when they are drowning in dressing, have too many dried fruits, croutons, or nuts, and when bread is the compliment. Some restaurants really cater to taste buds when it comes to salads versus utilizing the healthy aspects of this bowl of ruffage. Somehow there is a fear of making a salad boring. Sometimes a basic salad is just what the body needs and it isn’t meant to be complicated. Consider a salad a starter, meal, or side and make it a healthy habit that is part of your daily menu. When you practice these habits you inspire others to make healthy choices, and this can start at home by teaching the family to incorporate salad as part of what their body’s health desires.

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