Smart Tips for a Healthier Salad

man makes a salad from assorted vegetables in his kitchen

Salad can be a healthy choice for lunch or dinner, especially if you load up your plate with a wide variety of healthy vegetables. Dressing, cheese, and bacon add calories and fat that can sabotage your healthy eating plans – so leave those off or use very little. Follow these tips to keep your salads healthy without sacrificing flavor.

  • Choose a variety of fresh, colorful vegetables at their peak flavor, like dark green kale, red bell peppers, orange carrots, and red onions.
  • Skip extras such as cheese, bacon, and croutons. If you must indulge, use only a little.
  • Use less salad dressing. In restaurants, ask for the low-fat dressing on the side. Try adding it with a fork instead of a spoon.
  • Experiment with parsley, garlic, oregano, basil, chives, rosemary, thyme, and other herbs; sprinkle them on your salad or add them to a simple vinaigrette made with olive oil.
  • At the salad bar, pass up high-calorie choices such as coleslaw, potato salad, and creamy fruit salad.
  • Add variety to your salad with high-fiber, lower-calorie items like beans, raw vegetables, and fresh and dried fruit.

The American Cancer Society recommends eating at least 2½ cups of vegetables and fruits every day.

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Our team is made up of doctors and master's-prepared nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

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