A healthy salad. Really?

Salad. Simple, right? Healthy, right? Well, it all depends.

Linda, a co-worker and friend of mine, sent me an email the other day with the ingredients she used for her salad, which she thought was pretty healthy. It is a salad, after all, right. Well, as all of you know, I am not only a Weight Watchers member, but I also now work for Weight Watchers as a receptionist. 

Well, I told Linda that I would figure out her salad for her and let her know just how "healthy" it was. 

First off, she told me that she did just trim her dressing down from about five tablespoons to two tablespoons, kind of at my urging, I guess. At any rate, Linda’s salad included lettuce, Hidden Valley Ranch dressing (the full fat version), shredded cheddar cheese (the full fat version) and slivered almonds. Not bad, right? Well, you be the judge. Now keep in mind I work off the Weight Watchers point system and not calorie or fat count. 

Here are my findings:

Hidden Valley Ranch dressing – regular – 5 tbs. – 10 points (Yowsers!)
Hidden Valley Ranch dressing – regular – 2 tbs. – 4 points (Nice cut back.)
Hidden Valley Ranch dressing – light – 2 tbs. – 2 points (Wow, big difference and not a lot of sacrifice in taste, as Linda later found out when she decided to try the light version of her favorite dressing…at my urging, I guess!

So, just by trimming it back from 5 tbs. to 2 tbs. Linda knocked it down six points. Yes, 6. But she can knock it down even more by going with the light version, which she plans on doing. Right, Linda?

Kraft shredded cheddar cheese – regular – 1/3 cup – 4 points
Kraft 2% milk colby/monterey jack shredded – 1/3 cup – 2.5 points
Kraft 2% milk reduced-fat mozzarella shredded – 1/3 cup – .5 points

I showed Linda the options she has for trimming down the point value for her cheese. She was pretty impressed by it. If she chooses to go with the reduced-fat mozzarella, she trims three and a half points, 3.5, off her total. To me, that’s impressive.

Slivered almonds – 1/4 cup – 3.5 points
Slivered almonds – 1/8 cup – 1.5 points

The almonds are almonds, but by cutting back on the amount, Linda can take 2 points off. Crazy, isn’t it. 

And of course, the lettuce had zero points. But you do have to watch your portion sizes on lettuce. Kind of. You can have up to seven cups, yes, 7 cups, and still stay at zero points. But, if you go for the eight cups of lettuce, you have to count a whole half a point. Yep, a big ol’ whopping .5. 

Linda’s original salad, with the 5 tbs. of dressing, came out to be 17.5 points!!!! YIKES!!!!!
Her salad with the 2 tbs. of dressing, 1/3 cup regular cheese and 1/4 cup almonds was 11.5 points. Better, but she could still do some trimming. 
If she used the light dressing, the lighter cheese (reduced-fat mozzarella) and just an 1/8 cup of almonds, her total points value for the whole salad would only be four points!!!!! Yes, 4.

As I told Linda in an email, each day I have 24 points to use. I like food…A LOT, which is why I make the choices I make. I am all about quantity. I want the most food I can eat with the least amount of points. You know what I mean?

For instance, last week for lunch on Thursday, I had a grilled cheese sandwich (dunked in ketchup), two pickles and almost an entire bag of lettuce with 2 tbs. of Kraft free zesty italian dressing and 1 tbs. reduced fat parmesan cheese and a Skinny Cow white mint truffle ice cream bar. My total points for my whole lunch??????? It was only four points. Yep, 4.

On Monday of last week, I had my grilled cheese sandwich, ketchup, pickles, an entire bag (THE WHOLE BAG) of Birds Eye steamfresh green beans with 1 tbs. of balsamic vinegar plus a Weight Watchers giant fudge bar. Again, my total points value was only four points. Again, it was 4.

I told Linda these were just my thoughts and I just wanted to share them with her. She emailed me back and this was her reply:

Holy Crap!!!!! OMG! When I buy mozzarella I always get the reduced fat (usually that is all I can find) So I think that I will be using that for my cheese and I love the almonds but I am willing to cut down on those.

I have no idea how the points work but I know the difference between 17.5 points and 4!!!!!! I just can’t believe how many points are in the salad I eat.

Thanks for the info.

I told Linda that I would be using the information in this blog because I like to show people some of the simple changes that can be made and how much of a difference it makes.

Or at least I hope it makes a difference.

If anyone has any questions or comments and don’t feel like leaving on here, please feel free to shoot me over an email. I can be reached at confessionsofaformerfatgirl@gmail.com. That is confessions of a former fat girl at gmail dot com. Hope to hear from you soon.

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