Health & Fitness

Eat Smart: Chicken mango salad slims down calories

People assume salads are a healthy choice.

But ordering one at your favorite restaurant can be deceiving:

You think you're being good, only to realize later you could have eaten a steak for the same number of calories.

That's why I'm mesmerized by each new edition of "Eat This Not That!" (Rodale Press) by David Zinczenko and Matt Goulding of Men's Health magazine.

The series offers clever side-by-side visuals that compare various restaurant choices. To get a read on the slippery salad slope, I had to read only to No. 6.

The "worst" salad: Thai crunch salad by California Pizza Kitchen that rings in at 2,238 calories.

To be fair, you've seen competing versions of the salad at any number of restaurants.

The ingredients may sound healthy, but a seemingly harmless salad will "saddle you with more calories than 3 pounds' worth of sirloin from Applebee's."

The culprits: the heavy dressing(s), the deep-fried wonton strips and the enormous portions.

This Chopped Grilled Chicken Mango Salad With Wonton Crisps offers a satisfying crunch but at a considerable savings.

To whittle it down, we swapped the peanut-y dressing for a zesty vinaigrette. High in vitamin C and low in sodium, a ripe mango adds a lush dimension to any salad. Baked wontons also cut down on the overall fat.

* Shopping tip: Look for wonton wrappers in the produce section of the supermarket.

CHOPPED GRILLED CHICKEN MANGO SALAD WITH WONTON CRISPS

Makes 4 servings.

4 wonton wrappers

Nonstick cooking spray

3 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice

1 1/2 teaspoons grated lime zest

1/2teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/4teaspoon salt

Pinch of coarsely ground pepper

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

6 cups finely chopped hearts of romaine

1 stalk celery, finely diced

1/3cup finely chopped green onions (white and green parts)

1/4cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 small ripe mango, peeled and finely diced

4 small boneless, skinless chicken breasts, grilled and cut into bite-size pieces

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray both sides of wonton wrappers with cooking spray and place on baking sheet. Bake 3 to 5 minutes or until brown and crisp. Crumble into small pieces; set aside.

Whisk together lime juice, lime zest, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Add olive oil in steady stream and continue to whisk until well combined; set aside.

Combine remaining ingredients in a salad bowl. Drizzle with dressing and toss gently to combine. Just before serving, sprinkle with crumbled wontons.

Per serving: 266 calories (29 percent from fat), 9 grams total fat (1 gram saturated), 66 milligrams cholesterol, 18 grams carbohydrates, 29 grams protein, 274 milligrams sodium, 3 grams dietary fiber.

The Wichita Eagle—06/21/11

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