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Lunch Break: 5 Winter Salads Under 500 Calories

Embrace the season with these nutrient-packed wintry mixes.

Give seasonal salads a try this winter for an extra boost of nutrients at lunch. Photograph courtesy of Sweetgreen’s Facebook page.

Health-conscious Washingtonians live on salad in the warmer months, if the line at Chop’t at lunchtime is any indication. But when the weather turns frigid, thoughts often turn to meaty chili or heaping plates of pasta.

We’re here to help you stick to your health goals through January with this handy guide to healthy and winter-appropriate salads you can find at popular lunch spots. They’re a great way to try new vegetables (kohlrabi, anyone?), and even better, they’re all under 500 calories.

Pret’s Sesame Chicken Sushi Salad = 342 calories

The good: It’s stuffed with tasty Asian ingredients such as edamame, ginger sushi rice, and seaweed, which is loaded with nutrients like vitamins A and C, calcium, and magnesium.

The bad: It contains 1,100 milligrams of sodium—the highest amount in all of the salads listed here.

Panera’s Mediterranean Shrimp Couscous Salad = 360 calories

The good: Panera’s newest salad takes a cue from the Mediterranean diet with its mix of spinach, romaine lettuce, couscous, shrimp, feta, olives, and roasted tomatoes. You get 140 percent of the daily recommended value of vitamin A and a sizable dose of vitamin C, plus healthy antioxidants from tomatoes.

The bad: This salad will set you back 1,040 milligrams of sodium—close to half the daily recommended amount.

Sweetgreen’s January Salad = 395 calories

The good: You have just one week to savor Sweetgreen’s seasonal salad of organic mesclun, shredded kale, kimchee, apples, carrots, sesame seeds, raw beets, and cucumber. The salad, topped with miso-sesame-ginger vinaigrette, is 395 calories and entirely vegan.

The bad: While it has a hearty eight grams of fiber and nine grams of protein, it also has 1,055 milligrams of sodium. Ask for the dressing on the side.

Chop’t’s Hokkaido Salad = 450 calories

The good: This seasonal dish comes with lemon-pepper chicken, local kohlrabi (similar to a turnip), soba noodles, carrots, walnuts, mesclun, and spinach. Soba noodles are a low-fat source of fiber, and you’ll get a good dose of hearty fats from the walnuts.

The bad: The recommended creamy Asian sesame dressing is an additional 80 calories.

Cosi’s Smart Fit Salad = 472 calories

The good: It’s chock-full of vitamin A and vitamin C, thanks to the kale and sweet potatoes. The avocado provides a healthy dose of good-for-you fatty acids, too.

The bad: This salad contains 28 grams of fat, although some of that comes from the avocado.

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