The salad bar looks like a healthy choice -- but not all salads are created equal. Right next to the raw veggies, you might have gigantic croutons and bacon bits. If you want to build a hunger-busting plate and still keep calories in check, zero in on these choices and portions. (Curious to see what a typical woman eats on an average day? Check out honest food diaries from three bloggers: Nikki, Koren, and Meredith.)
1 cup (baseball size)
Darker leaves pack more nutrients, so choose mixed greens.
Chickpeas or kidney beans
1/4 cup (golf ball size)
70 to 90 calories
Mixed beans in a dressing contain added fat, so drain the liquid.
2 tablespoons (size of 2 large marbles)
Eat just the egg white to save cholesterol and half the calories.
1/2 cup (tennis ball size)
If they're shiny, they've been tossed in oil, which means more calories.
Sliced ham or turkey
High in protein and low in fat—but if the ham is cut into chunks, it may not be as lean.
Though high in calories, it's rich in filling good fats.
Assume that the cheeses are full-fat.
They're low in calories—feel free to pile them high.
Fat-free: 20 to 50 calories
Light: 50 to 80 calories
Regular: 100 to 150 calories
Vinaigrettes tend to have fewer calories than creamy ones.
Add It Up
Try this salad, using some of the above ingredients: 2 cups mixed greens + 1 cup sliced cucumbers + 1 cup tomatoes + 1/2 cup chickpeas + 2 tablespoons regular dressing = a smart 410 calories. But use this guide to make a plate that makes your mouth (and your waistline) happy.