Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Being Salad Bar Savvy- Guest Blog by Alexandra Oppenheimer

Welcome to our 1st Guest Blog here at Fresh & Co.! We are proud to feature Alexandra Oppenheimer, RD who has been a guest of ours since we opened our first location at 681 Lexington Ave. Alexandra is a Registered Dietitian in Westchester and New York City, a Graduate Student at New York University and a Graduate of the NewYork-Presbyterian Dietetic Internship.

We asked Alexandra to give us and you some healthy eating hints and tips regarding salad as we quickly approach salad season:

 Hello everyone this is Alexandra with a few tips on being "salad savvy"

Be Salad Bar Savvy
Salads are often thought of as the epitome of a healthy meal.  Trying to lose weight?—“I’ll just have a salad.”  Don’t want to eat too much? – “Oh, just a salad for me!”  While we know how nutritionally fabulous salads can be, it is essential to make sure we’re not reversing their healthfulness.  While freedom of choice can be a fun part of designing your dream salad, we need to learn to not abuse this power and avoid salad sabotage. 

Balance your ingredients:
Individually, most salad ingredients can be great additions, but it’s possible to go too far.  Sodium and fat are two nutrients that can add up surprisingly quick in salads.  Items like beans, cheese and olives may contain higher amounts of sodium, although they still have redeeming nutrients.  The same goes for fat-containing foods.  Although they may contain heart healthy fats, a large amount still add up to excess calories.  The solution?  Balance your ingredients and stick to one serving of salad dressing.  Pay attention to which toppers have extra sodium or are higher in fat.  They are still healthy items that can be included but try not to pile them up.  Keep the higher sodium and fat foods to only one or two per salad. 

Don’t be fat-phobic with your salad:
While we want to be mindful about the amount of fat in our salads, it is not the time to go fat-free!  Vitamins A and K are abundant in vegetables and are best absorbed in your body when they are eaten along with good fats.  By adding heart healthy fats like olive oil, avocado, sunflower seeds or nuts in your salad, your body can better use those great nutrients.  Why eat a salad unless you can get all of its goodness?

Maximize nutrition with color:
Fruits and vegetables have powerful disease-preventing nutrients called phytochemicals.  These various phytochemicals are displayed by their unique color (red, orange, green, yellow, blue/purple, brown, white), and yes even white mushrooms count as a color.  Utilize a salad bar, like Fresh & Co.’s, for their extensive salad toppers (likely way more then you’d even have at home at one time).  It is the perfect opportunity to create a bright and multi-colored salad in order to get those diverse nutrients. 

Channel your New Yorker pride!
It’s a fact, New Yorkers are extremely proud of where they come from… now shouldn’t we feel the same about our food?  One of the biggest movements in food is the utilization of local and seasonal ingredients, and rightly so.  Don’t we want to support our neighboring farmers… you bet!  Local farmers help us put some of the most nutritious food in our bodies.  Produce stays on the plants longer and gets into our stomachs sooner, giving nutrients the least amount of time to degrade and lose their power!  In addition to buying local for your home, when dining out, find businesses (like Fresh & Co.) that get their ingredients from local farmers as much as possible.  

Salads can make a great meal, but sometimes we just need to take a step back and evaluate our choices.  By being mindful about your salad toppers and where the ingredients come from, you can truly maximize the healthfulness of your salad!  

Read more from Alexandra on her website Ambitious & Nutritious and follow her on Twitter at @AlexOppRD

1 comment:

  1. I am an enthusiast of Salad bar and that makes this post something special for me. Great information on Salad Bar.Thanks buddy… I also like to add that it’s truly amazing to watch how Salad Bar chains are expanding to new regions with success. The ‘Saladbar Green Is Better’ is definitely one of the prime example that has made itself a favorite among all within a squat of time.