Amy Culver - The Queen of Lean
August 22, 2007    

Avoiding salad disasters

Food Tip: Not letting yourself get too hungry

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Avoiding salad disasters

I LOVE salads.  I always have and I can’t imagine a day when that will change. 

But what do I really love about them?  Is it the lettuce?  The veggies?  How about the croutons?  Oh, and don’t forget the dressing!  Truly, I’ve yet to meet a salad dressing I didn’t like (or just about any condiment for that matter).

I guess the truth is that it’s some magical combination of the whole picture that I find I literally crave from time to time.  The problem?  Salads can be dangerous territory if not navigated with care.  I firmly believe that at least half of the excess weight that I had to lose got there by way of salads. 

Once upon a time, I would order my salad not only with dressing on the side, but with EXTRA dressing on the side.  If bread wasn't being served with it, I’d ask for crackers.  I would scoop up the salad with the bread or crackers making sure to just about lick the plate clean.  Then, I’d go “dipping” in whatever was left in the side dish. Black Angus and Olive Garden were perennial favorites where I could get multiple helpings before I even got to the main course!  And don’t even get me started on salad bars – whoa!  I know that I consumed thousands of calories on every visit.

So, what’s a salad lover like me to do?  Is it possible to have a salad and lose or maintain your weight as well?  Absolutely.  Here are some of the tricks I’ve learned.

1.  Whenever possible, BYOB – that’s bottle of dressing of course!  If you don’t want to stick the whole bottle in your purse, just measure out a serving into a small container (such as a Tupperware Midget) and take that along with you.

2.  Measure, measure, measure.  Get those tablespoons out, learn what a serving size looks like and stick to it.

3.  Add water to your dressing.  I put two tablespoons of dressing into a Tupperware Midget and then fill it to the top with water.  It makes twice as much and spreads over the salad much better.

4.  Balsamic Vinegar.  What a wonderful invention!  You can use it plain or add it to your dressing to get more mileage.  I add it to low-fat raspberry to give my vinaigrette a bit more vinegar taste. 

5.  Fork dipping.  Okay, this is one I never in a million years thought I’d find myself doing.  When I’m eating out and I don’t know the nutritional information on the dressing, I order it on the side, dip my fork tips in the dressing and then take a bite of salad.  What I’ve learned is that since I’m so used to low-fat or non-fat dressing, when I actually end up eating the full-fat stuff, a little bit really goes a long way.

LIGHT BULBFOOD TIP: Not letting yourself get too hungry

One of the biggest dangers in trying to stick to a food plan is letting yourself get too hungry.  When this happens you’re much more likely to lose control and eat whatever you can get your hands on in large quantities in a short period of time, in other words, bingeing. 

This is truly a situation to avoid.  We can keep things around our house to help avoid the problem, but what about when we have to be “out and about?”  I keep some type of healthy snack bar or individually wrapped cookie on hand so that I can throw one in my purse if I have to run out suddenly. 

If I have a little time to plan, I pack a small lunch bag with a Blue Ice freezer pack.  I put in an extra bottle of water and a piece of fruit, some veggies and maybe a cottage cheese or some low-cal string cheese.  This gives me a few things to choose from and lets me spread it out if I’m going to be out for awhile.

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