Hopefully you were brought here by the article, “It’s A Salad, That Means It’s Healthy Right?”. This article helps explains that not all salads are created equal, and just because it’s a salad doesn’t mean it’s healthy. If you haven’t read the article, definitely give it a look! I wasn’t going to keep you hanging with just what’s bad, so here are some tips on making a healthy salad with the right ingredients that won’t fill up half your days worth of calories.
Where Do I Start – A Base
Start by creating a base thats filled with nutrients like folic acid and lutein. Start your salads with bases like spring mix, spinach, kale, or musclen greens. All of these options include dark, leafy, nutrient packed greens. Try to avoid bases like iceberg lettuce that has very, very little nutritional value.
Next, pile on the vegetables! Try sticking to raw or lightly steamed vegetables to avoid making them unhealthy, such as adding too many oils or sauces. A salad will ALWAYS make you full if you pile on the veggies. Vegetables are one of the easiest low-calorie ways to fill up. Add color variety to not only make it pretty, but also to increase the nutritional value all around. Add chickpeas, peppers, broccoli, carrots, bell pepper, edamame, cucumbers – whatever your tastebuds desire.
Next up is protein! Let’s keep the nutritional value going and make sure all our macronutrients are added to the meal. For animal based, you can add hard-boiled eggs, egg whites, sirloin steak, bison patty, ahi tuna, turkey, tuna, skinless-chicken, or salmon. Trying to stick to the lean proteins. For my plant-based eaters there’s protein packed options for you as well. Legumes are packed with protein, beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, chickpeas, and maybe even tofu. Try staying away from anything processed, fried, greasy, or drenched in sauce. When trying to keep it healthy, bacon, salami, and buffalo chicken won’t be the best option.
Salads don’t have to be boring and just the basics, you can add a little extra to spice it up. Key word there is little since some of these extras may be high in calories, fats, or sugars even though they’re the healthier options. Throw on avocado for some healthy fat benefits, but this fat is his in calories for example so potions need to be watched. You can add a tablespoon of nuts like almonds or walnuts, seeds like pumpkin or hemp seeds, a little bit of cheese like goat cheese or feta, or raisins or raisins for those with a sweet tooth.
Don’t Forget To Dress
Unfortunately, salad dressing can be the single factor that makes the salad unhealthy! In some cases simply the dressing can be more calories than the whole salad itself, and many cannot eat a salad unless its more salad than dressing. When dressing your salad, your best bet is to choose the lite, low-fat, low-calorie options. Even adding just lemon juice can add a boost of taste to your salad with added health benefits. Sometimes adding fruit to salad gives it so much flavor, a dressing is not necessary.
Article written by GUADS member Breanna, with contribution from joybauer.com