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As you know, a seemingly innocent salad can contain silly amounts of fat and calories. Here's HG's foolproof Salad Bar Survival Guide. Now there's no excuse for downing a salad that has 1,000 calories... 
Green-Light Grazing

Go absolutely wild with these super salad starters!

Salad Greens (Romaine, Iceberg, Spring Mix, Etc.) - 3 cups = 25 calories, <0.5g fat, 3g fiber

Tomatoes - 1/2 cup = 15 calories, <0.5g fat, 1g fiber

Cucumbers - 1/2 cup = 8 calories, 0g fat, <0.5g fiber

Mushrooms - 1/2 cup = 8 calories, 0g fat, <0.5g fiber

Pepper Strips - 1/2 cup = 12 calories, 0g fat, 1g fiber

Pepperoncinis, Jalapenos, Sweet Peppers - 1/4 cup = 10 calories, <0.5g fat, 0.5g fiber

Alfalfa Sprouts - 1/2 cup = 5 calories, 0g fat, <0.5g fiber

Salsa - 1/4 cup = 25 calories, <0.5g fat, 1g fiber

Vinegar (Red Wine, Balsamic, Etc.) - 2 tbsp. = 15 calories, 0g fat, 0g fiber

Fat-Free, Reduced Calorie Dressings - 2 tbsp. = 40 calories, <0.5g fat, 0g fiber


Approach With Caution

Watch your portion size with the following…

Beans (Garbanzo, Kidney, Black, Etc.) - 1/4 cup = 60 calories, 0.5g fat, 2.5g fiber

Corn Niblets - 1/4 cup = 40 calories, <0.5g fat, 1g fiber

Olives - 2 tbsp. = 30 calories, 2.5g fat, 0g fiber

Imitation Bacon Bits - 2 tbsp. = 40 calories, 1.5g fat, 0.5g fiber

Chopped Egg - 1/4 cup = 55 calories, 4g fat, 0g fiber

Plain Chunk Tuna or Chicken (no Mayo) - 1/2 cup = 110 calories, 1 - 3g fat, 0g fiber


Steer Clear (Or Use VERY Sparingly!)

These items can quickly crash a produce party!

Croutons - 1/2 cup = 75 calories, 3g fat, 0.5g fiber

Tortilla Strips/ Fried Noodles - 1/3 cup = 100 calories, 5g fat, 0.5g fiber

Real Crumbled Bacon - 1/4 cup = 70 calories, 5g fat, 0g fiber

Tuna or Chicken Salad with Mayo - 1/2 cup = 250 calories, 20g fat, 0g fiber

Sunflower Seeds - 2 tbsp. = 100 calories, 9g fat, 2g fiber

Full-Fat Cheeses - 1/4 cup = 100 calories, 8g fat, 0g fiber

Dried Fruit - 1/4 cup = 100 calories, <0.5g fat, 1g fiber

Full-Fat Dressings - 2 tbsp. = 130 calories, 15g fat, <0.5g fiber

Candied Nuts - 2 tbsp. = 120 calories, 12g fat, 1g fiber

Potato Salad - 1/2 cup = 200 calories, 12g fat, 1.5g fiber

Pasta Salad - 1/2 cup = 200 calories, 11g fat, 1g fiber

Oil-Marinated Veggies - 1/3 cup = 100 calories, 10g fat, 2g fiber


More Salad Bar Tips 'n Tricks...

* Always start with the items on the "Green-Light Grazing" list, then hit up the "Approach With Caution" one, and finally (if you really need to) visit the "Steer Clear" section. Fill your plate mostly with items on the first list and with a just a few from the second and third.

* Watch out for low-fat dressings -- they're a total mystery and can contain tons of calories and fat grams.

* See if the restaurant's individual nutritional stats are available. One of our favorite salad places, Souplantation/Sweet Tomatoes has specific nutritionals available online and IN STORE for every single item on their buffet, including pre-made salads and salad dressings. That ROCKS!

* Pair a trip to the salad bar with a plain baked potato (add salsa from the salad bar), a broth-based or tomato-based soup, or a shrimp cocktail appetizer. Now you have a meal!

* Ooooh -- we found even more nutritionals online! Fresh Choice, Souper Salad, Old Country/Hometown/Country Buffet and Golden Corral...Yay!


  HG Heads Up: All of the nutritional breakdowns provided here are approximate values based on averages. Exact numbers may vary at each restaurant.
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  ***The PointsPlus® and SmartPoints® values for these products and/or recipes were calculated by Hungry Girl and are not an endorsement or approval of the product, recipe, or its manufacturer or developer by Weight Watchers International, Inc., the owner of the PointsPlus® registered trademark and SmartPoints® trademark.

SmartPoints® value not what you expected? Click here for more info on how the values are calculated, plus more FAQs about PointsPlus® and SmartPoints® values on our website.