Some people may have wondered why I would take over a year to make a salad challenge. After all, salads are great for weight loss. But the problem is that most people try to lose weight by “eating rabbit food” and then they get burned out. It’s hard to eat the same old thing all the time.

The word “salad” comes from the latin word “salare” which means “to salt”. It is in reference to salted raw vegetables. Over the years, the vegetables have changed from region to region. Salad became the generic word for just about anything that has vegetables in it. There are even a few salads that don’t have any vegetables in them but are called salads because they are served before the main course of the meal.

We often say salad when we are referring to a tossed salad or garden salad. But there are all kinds of salads from jello salad to cold salads like coleslaw and potato salad. There are even cooked salads like wilted lettuce, hot spinach salad, and cooked greens.

The key to making salad a good staple in your weight loss pantry is variety. Mix it up a bit and do different kinds of salad. To spice up your salad eating experiences, try stuffing your salad greens into whole wheat flat bread or pita. There is a great flat bread called “Flat Out” that is found in the bakery section of your store. They have very little fat and calories, are whole grain, and they are yummy. This will not interfere with your weight loss. If the taste still bores you, try adding lemon juice, hot sauce, and cilantro.

If a salad is not satisfying your hunger than try adding a quarter cup of avocado to it. Avocado is high in good fat, low in saturated fat and cholesterol free. The high fat content in avocado will also help you to feel more satisfied after eating your salad.

Most people avoid eggs when they are trying to lose weight because eggs are full of fat and cholesterol but a sliced, hard-boiled egg on your salad can add protein and other important nutrients. The protein will not only help your muscle from deteriorating while dieting but it will also help you to feel more satisfied.

Some other hints for your salad maybe to add some of these: A tablespoon of almonds or cashews added to your salad can add good fats as well as protein and fiber to your salad and the crunch adds mouth appeal. A few fresh mushrooms will add fiber, protein and important B vitamins to your salad. Adding a tablespoon of low-fat or nonfat cheese will add both protein and calcium to your salad. A quarter cup of shredded carrots or sliced bell peppers will add color, flavor and plenty of vitamin C to your salad. Broccoli and Cauliflower florets will add fiber, iron and vitamin C to your salad as well as some crunchy textures.

I like to add 4 ounces of chopped or sliced grilled chicken breast. You can even spice up your salad by using blackened or spicy grilled chicken. Chicken adds texture and a good deal of protein to a salad. You can also use fresh cooked tuna, canned tuna, or fresh cooked or smoked salmon.

Iceberg lettuce is the common green of choice for a salad but it isn’t always the healthiest choice. Darker greens like romaine or spinach will add far more vitamins in each forkful.

Cold salad can be adapted to have less fat and calories. Use low fat mayo or substitute fat-free plain yogurt for a delicious coleslaw or potato salad. I also use Splenda in my coleslaw instead of sugar. Add more fruit, nuts, and veggies and less dressing to make a wonderful Waldorf Salad.

Jello salad’s are a good treat too and can be made healthier by using sugar-free gelatin. I like to use sugar-free jello (dry), fresh apples, fresh pineapple, grated carrots, pecans, and fat-free Cool-whip to make a yummy fruit salad for dessert. It satisfies my sweet tooth without killing my weight loss efforts.

This weeks challenge is to eat more salad!

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