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When someone asks you to bring a salad to a potluck, do you bring a lettuce, meat, vegetable, gelatin, or dessert salad? You may need more explanation from the potluck planner or you'll just have to guess as to what dish is actually needed and desired!

Lettuce salads are typically what most people think of when the term salad is used. When eating out, lettuce salads are often a side dish choice for the main entrée, but they've now become entrée's themselves with added protein and large portion sizes. When choosing lettuce salads go for dark greens, such as spinach, kale or romaine, and be cautious of the toppings you put on it. Cheese, croutons, and high fat dressings pack on the calories.

Meat salads, such as chicken or tuna, are typically made with a lot of mayonnaise. Use half mayo and half non-fat Greek yogurt to lighten it up. This also works for the traditional broccoli salad or waldorf salad. Plus, you can decrease the amount of dressing by half in most recipes. You'll be amazed at how good it tastes when the fruit and vegetable isn't hidden in all that dressing.

The nostalgic gelatin salad can be loaded in sugar. Use sugar-free gelatin mix, and if using canned fruit, buy fruit packed in juice and not syrup. Dessert salads that call for frozen whipped topping can be made with fat-free topping, which will have zero heart clogging trans fats. No matter what salad you choose, lighten it up and you'll friends and family will thank you.


Rainbow Salad Printable PDF

1 clove garlic, minced

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar

4 Tablespoons olive oil

1 head Romaine lettuce, torn, washed, and spun dry

1 large ripe tomato, sliced very thin

½ avocado, sliced

4 large ripe strawberries, sliced lengthwise

1 yellow or orange bell pepper, diced

¼ cup toasted almond slices


Whisk together garlic, salt, pepper, and vinegar. Slowly whisk in olive oil. Remove about 1 Tablespoon of dressing, and save. In a large bowl, toss remaining dressing with lettuce, and divide among four plates. In a large plastic sealed bag, toss tomatoes with saved dressing. Place avocado slices in a sunburst pattern on top of salad, with strawberry slices between them. Line the edge of the salads with tomatoes, then sprinkle bell peppers and almonds evenly over top of salads.

Yield: 4 servings

Nutritional Analysis per serving: 240 calories, 20 grams fat, 320 milligrams sodium, 15 grams total carbohydrate, 5 grams fiber, 4 grams protein