Ah, the salad. It’s one of the most common meals associated with healthy eating.
And why not? Salads are clean, crisp, and ever so versatile; plus, the combinations of ingredients are infinite. With so many options possible, searching for a delicious yet good-for-you salad can be challenging.
We’ve got you covered! The salad tips below will help you build one with incredible flavor and all the nutritional benefits you seek.
Watch Your Lettuce
Yes, lettuce in your salad seems like the most basic and obvious addition. But the leafy greens you choose can determine whether your salad has a little—or a lot!—of nutritional value. According to the Cleveland Clinic, look for leafy greens that are darker or redder, such as kale, spinach, and romaine lettuce. Try to avoid iceberg and pale lettuce, which have a higher water concentration that decreases the number of nutrients your body absorbs. For extra variety, you can mix and match different types of lettuce in a spring mix or create your own combination of leafy greens. The world is your oyster!
Throw in Some Protein
Some of the most delicious protein sources can come from beans, meat, quinoa, tofu, eggs, etc. However, you have to be picky about which proteins you use to meet the nutritional goal you’re trying to reach. For example, beans provide protein and also are high in fiber. Tofu provides potassium and has heart health benefits. Proteins are arguably one of the most important food groups when considering weight loss, strength gain, and an increase in overall health and wellness. Plus, the protein can be the tastiest part of your salad! Don’t be afraid to experiment with different proteins—the possibilities are endless.
Dressings can make or break a salad—in taste and calories. There are tons to choose from, each one giving your salad a completely different flavor profile—balsamic when you’re feeling light and breezy, ranch when you want a classic taste, or raspberry for exciting summer days. However, if your goal for your salad is nutritional value, opt for an oil-based vinaigrette with healthy, unsaturated fats. If you’re a creamy-dressing lover, try to keep it under 3-4 tablespoons. You can also use lemon juice or create your own light dressing with ingredients easily found at home.
Whether you’re a fan of crunchy red bell peppers, crisp, green cucumbers, blueberries, strawberries, or any other colorful fruit or veggie, you really can’t go wrong with adding nature’s favorites to your salad. Most fruits will allow for healthy sugars, and vegetables will increase your potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin D intake. The possibilities and combinations are endless, so you’re sure to find the salad that is best suited for your dietary needs and preferred taste! The more color your salad has, the more nutritious it probably is.
There are endless ways to make your healthy meal even better for you. Not only does salad-making allow for creativity in your health journey, but it also gives you a delicious and enjoyable way to meet your body’s needs on a day-to-day basis. Keep these tips in mind when throwing together your next salad!