How to Build An Amazing Healthy Salad

Posted by Luisa de Luca on

healthy salad “Going on a diet” is almost synonymous with “eating a salad.” And for good reason! Salads can be a great way to eat healthy to support your weight loss goals. However, not all salads are healthy. Some are significantly more nutritious than others. Here are some great suggestions on how to build great salads: The ingredients to an amazing healthy salad 1. Pick a dark leafy green as the base for your salad. No matter what you do, pick something other than iceberg lettuce! While it’s popular, it’s mostly water and contains very little nutrients1. Your healthiest options will be kale, spinach and arugula. Other good options are romaine and red- or green-leaf lettuce. 2. Add a healthy protein to give your salad staying power. Easy additions are grilled chicken or steak, hard-boiled eggs, grilled fish, and cooked lentils and beans (bonus because you also get fiber2!). 3. Pile on the veggies for flavor and nutrition. The fiber content will help your salad keep you full longer, and you’ll be getting a range of vitamins and minerals. Carrots, peppers, radishes and mushrooms are popular. But think outside the box! Kimchi, bean sprouts, cilantro or fresh ginger might not be typical, but they’ll add a ton of flavor and nutrition. Creatively adding vegetables is the secret to amazing healthy salads! healthy salad vegetables 4. Mix in nutrient-dense toppings like fruits, nuts and seeds. Fruit is healthy, but it has sugar so you want to be careful not to overdo it. Nuts and seeds are super healthy, but high in calories so they should also be added sparingly. 5. Sprinkle it with tasty flavors you want to indulge in. There’s nothing wrong with a light sprinkle of shredded cheese or a small spoonful of dried fruit. These additions can absolutely make a salad level up in flavor, but just be cautious of adding too much. A tablespoon might be enough to really make the flavors pop without adding too many calories3. 6. Toss it in a reasonable amount of salad dressing you made yourself. Seriously, homemade vinaigrettes couldn’t be easier! Mix 2 part healthy oil (like olive oil or avocado oil) with 1 part vinegar (any kind works; you can also use lemon or lime juice instead). Add a dash of salt (and any other spices you want!) and a small amount of sweetener (go for natural options like honey or maple syrup, and don’t overdo it). Shake it up in a mason jar and you’ll have a tasty vinaigrette to dress up your amazing healthy salad! Salad DON’T’SDON’T use a fat-free salad dressing. Fat free foods don’t usually taste as good as their full-fat counterparts. To compensate, companies make up for the flavor with something else – usually sodium or sugar4. The artificial ingredients used to make fat-free (and sugar-free) foods taste good but just aren’t worth it. • DON’T add anything bread-related. This rules out croutons and any fried proteins. They might taste good, but they are the opposite of what an amazing healthy salad should be. • DON’T choose the creamy salad dressing. That is, unless you made it yourself using Greek yogurt or avocado. Otherwise, creamy salad dressings are going to be very high in calories and fat – the opposite of what a salad should be. healthy salad dressingDON’T indulge in unnecessary toppings. Those tasty flavors that we mentioned in ingredient #5? They’re OK every once in a while, but certainly not all the time and always in moderation. If you choose to have one indulgent topping, forego another. For example, top your taco salad with cheese but skip the sour cream. Chances are you won’t even miss it. What are your favorite salad recipes? How do you dress your dinner salads? We’d love to know! Sources: 1. Jordan Shakeshaft: How to Choose the Healthiest Salad Greens (May 15, 2013). 2. Daisy Whitbread BSc: 27 Beans and Legumes High in Fiber. 3. William Lagakos, Ph.D.: Calories in Nuts Chart: Which Are The Lowest Calorie? (July 13, 2013) 4. Kerry Torrens: The truth about low-fat foods.

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