10 Tips and Tricks for Healthy Summer Salads


Salads fit the bill on those nights when it’s hot outside and you just feel like something light and cool for dinner. Plus, summer is the official season for barbecues, block parties, and picnics, for which, nine times out of 10, we’re asked to “bring a salad.”

For all these reasons, it’s time to take a WebMD “Recipe Doctor” look at summer salads.

The very word “salad” sounds low-cal, doesn’t it? But salads can be anything but low in calories, what with add-ons like mayonnaise, oily dressings, breaded and fried chicken strips, bacon, and so on. Just take a look at what some of these popular salad ingredients cost us in calories and fat grams:

Salad ingredient Calories Fat (g) hunger for hours. It can be as easy as:

  • Adding leftover chicken, shrimp, salmon, or lean steak from last night’s barbecue.
  • Opening a can of beans (vitamins, and minerals and phytochemicals just by making this adjustment.

    9. Use dark green lettuce for your green salad. The darker green the lettuce, generally the more breasts, or the meat shredded from a rotisserie chicken)
    1 1/3 cup cherry tomato halves
    6-ounce jar marinated artichoke hearts, well-drained, rinsed, and chopped
    1/2 cup coarsely chopped kalamata olives
    1/4 cup dried currants (optional)
    1 1/2 tablespoons drained capers
    4 tablespoons toasted pine nuts* (optional)

    • Cook orzo in a medium saucepan of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to the bite (about 8 minutes). Rinse under cold water, drain well, and let cool. Put in a medium bowl.
    • Add olive oil, tomato paste, water, vinegar, fresh tarragon, lemon juice, and mustard to a small bowl or food processor, and pulse or whisk to blend well. Season dressing to taste with pepper and salt, if desired.
    • Add chicken to cooked orzo along with tomatoes, artichoke hearts, kalamata olives, currants, and capers. Drizzle dressing over the top, and toss.
    • Serve each large scoop of chicken salad on a bed of romaine or spinach leaves, and sprinkle toasted pine nuts over the top.

    Yield: 4 servings

    Per serving: 365 calories, 38 g protein, 23 g carbohydrate, 13 g fat (2.3 g saturated fat, 8 g monounsaturated fat, 1.9 g polyunsaturated fat), 90 mg cholesterol, 4.3 g fiber, 700 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 33%.

    *Toast the pine nuts in a toaster oven until golden brown, or put in a nonstick frying pan and heat over medium heat, stirring often, until golden brown.