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Like the idea of salad for lunch or dinner? The trick is to get the balance right.


cafe lunch.jpg

Just leaves

Too much topping

A salad or bowl meal can be brimming with healthful ingredients, but it can be a health blowout if we don’t take care with what we put on top. Oil-based dressings are fine, but keep in mind they’re energy-dense; in other words, they pack a lot of calories into a small serving. A tablespoon of a standard vinaigrette has about 100 calories; that’s the same as a large banana (which you probably wouldn’t put on your salad). Poké bowls often feature creamy, mayo-based dressings. Again there’s nothing really inherently unhealthy about these (although some might be overly salty) but they pack a punch energy-wise. So can some of the toppings on offer; a few nuts are good but watch out for the deep-fried shallots, corn chips and other crispy bits that are sometimes on offer. You don’t have to avoid dressing and toppings altogether. Some healthy fats are good, and important, in your bowl. I’d steer clear of coconut chips and flakes though, which are high in energy and saturated fat.

Avocado bounty

There’s no doubt a beautiful fan of avocado makes a bowl look Insta-awesome. Avocados are great food, and totally delicious. When they’re abundant and cheap, make the most of the avos. But as well as being full of satisfying fiber, healthy fat and other goodness, they are unique in the fruit world for being high in energy. If you’re looking to keep your lunch light, keep the avo serve moderate. I love mixing avocado into plain yoghurt to make a dressing; this gives a lovely avocado creaminess with less richness.

Article by Niki Bezzant supplied by Les Mills International