Q1: I am on a weight loss diet. For this reason, every time I go to a restaurant, I have a salad from the salad bar for dinner. Does this help me to lose weight?
A: Many people think a salad bar is always diet friendly, but if you are not careful enough, you may innocently fill your salad plate with items that can add up to 1000 calories – even more than a burger combo.
If you need to consume salad from the salad bar, here are a few tips in order to have some control over the calories consumed:
- Choose a plate small in size.
- Make your salad bar visit a 'one time' exercise.
- Fill half of your plate with vegetables (a mix of cherry tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, cabbage, spinach, green pepper, and mushrooms).
- Fill a quarter of your plate with starches (pasta, potatoes, corn, carrots, chickpeas, kidney beans, and croutons).
- Fill a quarter of your plate with protein (chicken, turkey, tuna, salmon, ham cubes, cheese, and chopped eggs).
- Choose balsamic vinaigrette or lemon dressing. Avoid blue cheese, Italian, French, Ranch, 1000 Island, and Caesar Salad dressings. If you have to consume them, do so in moderation (not more than 2 tbsp)
Q2: I am a very busy person. I work from 8 till 7 and when I come back home, I need a light meal. I am usually too tired to prepare anything so I end up eating a cup of noodle soup daily. Is eating noodle soup a bad choice for dinner?
A: I know what it feels like returning home from work tired and craving just about anything to eat - but that’s the root of the problem.
Here are some facts about noodle soup:
- It is high in calories (around 350 per cup) and in saturated fats which clog your arteries! This makes it an unhealthy choice both for dieters and for anyone aiming to improve his or her health.
- Half of your daily needs for sodium is in that cup of soup, which makes it a bad choice in case you have high blood pressure, heart issues, or kidney problems.
- MSG or E-621 is a flavor enhancer in noodle soup which is thought to increase appetite.
- Noodle soup has no nutrients and consuming it daily puts you at risk for malnutrition.
Try to snack on something before leaving work – maybe a piece of toast with some cheese or a cereal bar. This way, you can arrive home, take a rest, and then prepare your food. Remember, it takes less than 2 minutes to have that cup of noodles ready, and it takes the same amount of time to have a tuna or turkey and cheese sandwich ready for dinner.