S'alada Good Advice

By Jane Sylvestre, RD - 7/1/2015

Summer Salads


Summer is the ideal time to eat a salad.  The fruits and vegetables are bountiful and taste better than ever!  Salads also make the perfect meal for our patients as long as you add a good source of protein.  Of course, I am sure you have been warned in the past that salads are not always the lowest calorie option on the menu.  You are always safest preparing your own and packing one for lunch rather stopping and picking a salad up somewhere.  You might be fooling yourself if you think you are doing yourself any favors by ordering a salad from a restaurant.

Here is a list of a few high calorie salads:

TGI Fridays pecan Crusted Chicken Salad                              1,360 calories

TGI Fridays Santa Fe Chopped salad                        1,800 calories

Applebees oriental Chicken Salad                           1,310 calories

Applebees Grilled Shrimp and Spinach Salad     1,050 calories

Panera Med.  Chicken and Quinoa Salad                               580 calories

Panera Fuji Apple Salad                                                                560 calories

Panera Chicken Cobb Salad                                         560 calories

Note: many of the above restaurants may include bread or other items with the salad.  For example, panera offers rolls, chips, baguettes or an apple (obvious best choice.)

Think of the calories you would be consuming.  On average, patients should shoot between 1,200 (women) to 1,400 calories (men) per day.  Many of the salads above exceed these calorie levels for just one meal!  When ordering out, items in a salad to avoid would be the croutons, cheese, pasta salads, bacon and cream based dressings. 

You can certainly make a super healthy, much lower calorie salad by including many different greens, vegetables and even fruits.  My favorite salad uses spinach as the base with chopped sweet peppers, strawberries, raspberries and some raw cashews.  YUM!   Believe it or not, you can even add some flowers such as merigolds, violets, roses and pansies as long as they are labeled as edible.  You don’t want to be eating any toxic pesticides! 

Avocadoes get a bad rap primarily for their high calorie and high fat content.  One medium avocado has about 230 calories and 20 grams of fat; although, the majority of the fat is monounsaturated which is a “good for you” type of fat.  I would add a couple slices of avocado, but not the whole thing.  Don’t worry about adding a little oil based dressing too.  Olive oil would be an excellent option.  Mix it with balsamic vinegar and you have a super healthful dressing.  The benefit of fat is not only restricted to the type of fat you get, but the fat also helps you absorb the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K and helps you feel full and satisfied.  Here is a wonderful avocado dressing which I pulled from the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Website, eatright.org.  This recipe is delicious!

Avocado Dressing

Courtesy of Dawn Jackson Blatner, RDN, CSSD


1 avocado 
¾ cup water 
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar 
1 clove garlic 
¼ teaspoon dried dill 
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives 
Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Blend everything in a blender. 
  2. Store in a plastic squeeze bottle in the fridge.

Nutrition Information

Serving size: 2 tablespoons
Serves 8

Calories: 45; Total fat: 3.5g; Saturated fat 0.5g; Cholesterol: 0; Sodium: 80mg; Carbohydrates: 3g; Fiber: 2g; Sugars: 0; Protein: 1g

Reviewed April 2014


Try adding some herbs too.  Herbs are not only pretty and tasty, but many add the nutritional benefit of phytonutients as well.  Phytonutrients provide antioxidants, anti inflammatory benefits and are liver health promoting as well.  Great herbs to add to a salad would include:  parsley, cilantro (my favorite), sage, rosemary, thyme, basil (love this one too), chives and garlic.  Enjoy them all. 

One of the most important ingredients in a salad is the protein.  Eat the protein first, to make sure you have room for it.   I pulled this list from my summer salad handout which I attached as well:

  • Chicken breast (grilled or from a pre baked chicken)
  • Cooked (but not over cooked) shrimp
  • Any type of dried beans or peas (cannellini beans, black beans, chick peas)
  • Add some nuts such as almonds, cashews, pecans or pine nuts -watch portions of these
  • Boiled eggs
  • Low fat cheese (shredded or chunk) Try pepper jack for a kick!
  • Diced baked tofu
  • Cooked fish such as salmon
  • Tuna or chicken salad (try adding dried tarragon to the chicken)
  • Cooked edamame (green soybeans)


Pull all this information together into one healthy salad with lots of color from different fruits and veggies and good source of protein as noted above.  Top it off with a small amount of healthy fat.  Of course, don’t feel like you are on a diet and have to have a salad every day.  This is just one of the many healthy options you could eat.  Enjoy your salads and your summer!  Jane




Create a meal by adding protein:

  • Chicken breast (grilled or from a pre baked chicken)
  • Cooked (but not over cooked) shrimp
  • Any type of dried beans or peas (cannellini beans, black beans, chick peas)
  • Add some nuts such as almonds, cashews, pecans or pine nuts -watch portions of these
  • Boiled eggs
  • Low fat cheese (shredded or chunk) Try pepper jack for a kick!
  • Diced baked tofu
  • Cooked fish such as salmon
  • Tuna or chicken salad (try adding dried tarragon to the chicken)
  • Cooked edamame (green soybeans)



Choose healthy fats:  Make your own dressing or simply use an oil and vinegar.  You can control the ratio of oil to vinegar!  Choose olive, peanut, safflower and canola oil because they are highest in monounsaturated fat (good for your heart!)  Although these oils are healthier they still are just as high in calories so watch the amount you use. 


Choose dark greens:  The darker the greens, the more nutritious it is.  Choose dark greens for your salad such as spinach, romaine and spring mix.  Add lots of other colorful vegetables too like broccoli, carrots, tomatoes & beets. 


Make use of salad bars at supermarkets:  If you are even stuck on the road and need a healthy meal consider stopping at a supermarket instead of fast food for a make your own salad from their salad bar.  Most supermarkets have them now. 


Avoid high calorie contributors:  Mayonnaise based dressings (ranch, Caesar, blue cheese, French, thousand Islands), mayo based sides such as potato salads, macaroni salad..., croutons, regular cheese, taco salad shells, fried tortilla strips & bacon bits.


Tickle your taste buds:  Add flavor enhancers such as spicy mustard, balsamic vinaigrette, fresh herbs like cilantro, basil, parsley or mint, red onions or scallions.


Try taboulle salad:  Pasta salads may be difficult to tolerate and are high calorie, but quinoa is tolerated quite well.  Make a taboulle salad using quinoa as the grain of choice.  Quinoa is a grain that is also a great source of protein.  Simply cook and add any vegetables.  Serve cold. 



Healthy Recipe for Mango and Pine Nut Salad

High-fiber food is packed in this tasty fruit salad

Maureen Callahan, R.D.

Beans, greens, and mango turn this healthy recipe into a 12-gram high-fiber fiesta. But the eclectic flavors--tropical mango, spicy Dijon, and buttery pine nuts--will drive that healthy fact right out of your mind and make you re-think your idea of what a fruit salad can be.

2 c chopped fresh mango
1/3 c fresh orange juice
2 Tbsp canola or olive oil
2 tsp grainy Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
4 c shredded Romaine lettuce
1 c finely shredded red cabbage
1 c thinly sliced scallions
2 cans (15 oz) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 c raw or toasted pine nuts

1. In a mini chopper or a blender, purée ¼ cup mango, OJ, oil, mustard, salt, and pepper.
2. In a large bowl, combine lettuce, cabbage, scallions, beans, remaining mango, and pine nuts. Toss gently. Add vinaigrette and toss just before serving. Divide evenly into four salad bowls.

Makes four servings. Per serving: 372 calories, 14 g fat (1.5 g saturated), 665 mg sodium, 52 g carbs, 12 g fiber, 12 g protein

TIP If you don't have a blender (or the time) to mix up the mango vinaigrette, buy bottled fat-free mango vinaigrette (such as Consorzio).


Get in touch!

(508) 668-4400

Contact Us

All content ©2021 Surgical Weight Loss Specialists, LLC
LAP-BAND is a registered trademark of Allergan, Inc

Website developed by Ten Ten Studios, LLC