Vege good for you!

Despite it being September, the weather in Shanghai remains hot. After an over indulgent summer, now is the time to think about getting back into healthy eating. So, what do most people associate with healthy eating?

Vegetables, of course! And what better way to eat them, than in a salad. But are salads as good for you as people say?

There is a rumour that some salads can be as calorific as eating a burger! This could well be true: creamy dressings, such as Caesar, thousand island and mayonnaise, or salads with cheese or fried meats can add lots of additional calories.

Salads are an excellent meal choice. However, just because something’s called a “salad” doesn’t make it healthy; it needs to be nutritionally balanced. This is something dietitians are always banging on about. Vegetables aren’t the only essential food group – carbs are not your enemy!

In fact, starchy carbohydrates sustain your energy levels. This will stop you reaching for the biscuit tin in the afternoon. Choose salads which include a slice of wholemeal bread, tabouleh, couscous, brown rice or new potatoes.

However, it also helps to have a source of low fat protein. Evidence suggests that combining low fat protein with starchy carbohydrates can maintain your energy levels for even longer. Low fat sources such as fish, grilled chicken, ham, tofu, eggs, beans or lentils, hummus, falafel or a few nuts and seeds are all healthy forms of protein.

To accompany your salad try choosing low fat dressings, vinaigrette’s or yoghurt dressings. You can also ask for your dressing “on the side” to give you control over your intake.

Here are some examples of healthy salads: Tuna Nicoise, Element Fresh’s Shrimp and papaya salad, Wagas’ Grilled Salmon Salad and Mixed vegetarian plate.

Bon Appétit!

Sophie Thomas, Dietitian

Weigle, D. et al. (2005) ‘A high protein diet induces sustained reductions in appetite.’ American Journal of Clinical Nutrition; 82 (1):41-8