So you’re trying to be healthy with that big ol’ salad you’re eating aye? But how healthy is it really? Could you unknowingly be sabotaging your healthy lifestyle? Read on for the tips and tricks when constructing your healthy salad.
1) LETTUCE & GREENS:
Opt for romaine, arugula, dandelion greens, oak leaf, radicchio, baby spinach, or even kale. These choices offer much more nutritional value than the commonly used iceberg lettuce. Can’t decide on one? Mix and match your leaves to spice up your salad!
SKIP: Iceberg lettuce
Click here for a great site that breaks down many different types of lettuce.
Despite how often it happens, throwing lettuce and tomatoes together doesn’t qualify as a salad. To really reap the nutritional benefits of a “salad”, you’ve got to do more. Try adding carrots, celery, onions, bell peppers, diced broccoli, string beans, corn, cucumber, beans, artichokes, asparagus, & mushrooms.
SKIP: Salty canned vegetables
Tossing in a few fresh fruit pieces can some flare to your salad, keeping your taste buds on their toes. A few slices of apple, pear, peach, plum, orange, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, watermelon, pineapple, & mango are all great options.
SKIP: Canned fruits often soaked in syrups, candied fruits
4) MEATS & SEAFOOD:
Meats & seafood are a great way to add protein to your salad, which can help to keep you full and satiated, which can ultimately help prevent overeating. Go for the leanest and least processed meats possible. My favorites are grilled chicken breast, seared tuna, grilled shrimp & whole egg or egg white. Raw fish with a little wasabi is also delicious.
SKIP: Fatty, processed, & sodium-heavy meats (such as deli meats), bacon, fried meat/seafood
5) SPECIAL TOPPINGS:
Special toppings are what I like to call any toppings that are healthy, but should also be enjoyed in moderation. If you’re looking for a little crunch on your salad, go for nuts or seeds. These can satisfy that need for a crunch, while also providing some vitamins, minerals, protein, & healthy fats. Avocado addict? A couple slices of avocado can also pump the nutritional value up on your salad. If you are lucky enough to not be lactose intolerant or sensitive, a few crumbles of feta cheese, or a couple pieces of your favorite cheese can up the calcium and protein content of your salad.
SKIP: Croutons, other starchy toppings
6) THE DRESSING:
Alas, the dressing. The topping all too many people like to over-use, drowning their salad in sodium-rich, calorie dense, and sometimes, fatty dressing. I find the best way to go is with your favorite vinegar, such as balsamic, apple-cider, or white (sans the oil) of course you could always add 1 tablespoon of olive or avocado oil, for example. Another great option is to just squeeze some fresh lemon or lime juice on top. Of course, you could always skip the dressing altogether. I often find that if the contents of my salad are flavorful enough, I really don’t need to smother it in heavy dressing, in fact, with all of those delicious & vibrant flavors, why would I want to?
SKIP: Fatty, creamy, & thick dressings. Also avoid over-using the appropriate serving size
7) HERBS & SPICES:
Ground black pepper, parsley, basil, and other herbs and spices are a great way to rev up the flavor without breaking the calorie bank.
SKIP: Salt or salt based seasonings
What’s your favorite way to make a salad?