Why you should always order the bigger salad
A few weeks ago, an NPR story used math to determine why you should always order the larger pizza on the menu (the reasoning is due to how much pizza you get per dollar). While we aren’t big on encouraging people to chow down on super-sized slices of cheese and pepperoni every day, it did get us thinking about how it also makes a lot of sense to always order a large salad. But unlike the pizza reasoning, this advice is thanks to nutrition.
Barbara Rolls, Ph.D., is a professor of nutritional sciences at Penn State and is also the creator of a diet concept called Volumetrics. The idea is pretty simple: Eat foods that take up a lot of space for how many calories they contain. So snack on air-popped popcorn instead of calorie-dense nuts or grapes over raisins and you’ll feel full while still losing weight.
That’s where ordering a larger salad comes into play. By upping your veggie intake, you will fill up your stomach and feel satisfied without consuming nearly as many calories as you would if you were chowing down on a BLT with fries. For example, 3 cups of spinach has just 20 calories, 1 cup of cucumber slices has 14 calories, a dozen grape tomatoes have 25 calories, and 1 cup of sliced mushroomed has 15 calories. That’s almost six cups of food for 75 calories! Obviously you’d need to add some protein and healthy fats to the salad (while avoiding high-calorie toppings like bacon, croutons and creamy dressings), but you get the idea. So just remember: If there’s a large salad option, go for it (especially if you’re going to be following it with that XXL pizza).
Photo credit: frangrit