Life in Balance: Asian Chicken Salad is a yummy way to keep yule pounds off

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 6 2011 5:28 p.m. MST

Asian Chicken Salad

Dian Thomas

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Just this week I have two holiday dinners. During this season, it is not unusual have one or two a week.

It is so easy on these meals out to pack on the pounds, especially when I don't plan and prepare for them.

When I am in China and eating out with friends, it is just like eating at a potluck. They want me to feel welcome so they order or cook food as if it were a festival meal. A month ago when I was in Beijing, my friends (with whom I exercise in the park) invited me to a farewell lunch. I do not speak Chinese and they do not speak English, so I told my friend who was interpreting I only needed a couple of dishes because I don't want to gain weight.

We ended up with eight big plates of food for just the four of us! But I learned they have a wonderful salad, which was one of the dishes. It is a very fresh salad with more than seven vegetables. Not only is it colorful, it is delicious. I depend on this salad for events when so much high-calorie food is served.

Last week, I attended a weeklong storytelling seminar sponsored by the Timpanogos Storytelling Institute. We stayed in a beautiful cabin above Sundance, Utah, for the week. The food was fantastic, but my favorite was the Asian Salad brought by Karen Acerson. It was just like the one I order when I'm in China.

For Thanksgiving dinner, I requested the Asian salad. For the first time I did not gain a pound at Thanksgiving dinner! It worked like a charm. My plate looked like a paint pallet.

Around the outside, I took very small portions of each of the dishes served and then I filled the middle of my plate with the Asian salad. I ate very slowly and by the time the meal was over, I had not eaten so much I felt like a stuffed turkey.

My plate had been filled with food and I was happy and satisfied with my meal. The best thing was I did not have that heavy hangover feeling I often do when I have a big Thanksgiving meal. WOW!!! It worked!

I have decided that this holiday, I am going to take the Asian salad to every dinner when I am to bring food. I know that I can eat it and not gain a pound.

Here is the recipe and the best thing is you do not have to measure anything. You can even leave out items if you do not have them — or add others that you would like. Just go slow when adding a high-calorie item such as nuts or dried fruit.

ASIAN CHICKEN SALAD

Celery

Colored peppers

Green onions, diced

Carrots

Cabbage

Romaine lettuce, shredded

1 can Mandarin oranges, drained

Toasted silvered almonds

Lean chicken, cooked and cubed

Cilantro

Water chestnuts, sliced.

Toss all ingredients in a large bowl.

The dressing that I put on mine is Paul Newman's lite Sesame Ginger, which is only 35 calories for 2 tablespoons.

Take this simple, easy and delicious salad to get you though those high calorie potluck and dinners that await you this holiday.

Dian Thomas's new book: "Tipping the Scales in Your Favor, Small Steps That Make a Big Difference in Your Health, Weight and Happiness" is now available in bookstores and on Dian's website at www.DianThomas.com. You can also watch Dian's weight loss journey on a video by BYU there.

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