1 of 1
Dian Thomas
Asian Chicken Salad

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.

Comment on this story

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.