GREEN! Your body is a green lean fighting machine! With a little guidance you can make sure that every salad you make has the right amount of vitamins and minerals for optimum intake. So let’s get started.
Rule 1: Taste the Rainbow
Add plenty of color – not only does it look pretty for you food bloggers out there, but the more colors you add, the more you ensure you are getting plenty of good vitamins in your salad.
The darker the green, the better – it means the more nutrient-dense the vegetable tends to be. Iceberg lettuce? Yes, technically it’s a vegetable. But it has about as much nutrition as piece of paper. Think spinach, romaine, or kale instead. Romaine may seem like the outlier there, but it’s actually quite nutrient-rich and healthy!
Rule 2: Two or Fewer Non-Veggie Toppings
Salads are nutrient dense, fun to make, and when made correctly, can be filling too. Yes, they’re delicious when topped with cheese, nuts, and fruit as well. But once you take the focus away from the veggies, things can quickly get out of hand.
Sorry, shredded cheese and bacon bits have lots of calories—even when they’re sitting on a bed of greens. Better to stick to 1-2 moderate-calorie toppings. Pick two of these three categories: a nut or seed, a fruit, or a cheese. Become an expert at mixing and matching.
We got lots of options:
- Walnuts and cranberries
- Feta cheese and sunflower seeds
- Almonds and berries
- Goat cheese and apples
Rule 3: Choose an Oil or Yogurt Based Dressing
Oil and vinegar is not the only salad dressing for you guys trying to diet! Dressing is the creme de la creme of salad prep. The cherry (dressing) on top. Plus, dressings not only taste great but help your body absorb the fat-soluble vitamins found in vegetables themselves.
When choosing, it’s better to go oily rather than creamy. Canola, coconut, and olive-oil-based dressings are rich in healthy, unsaturated fats. Cream-based dressings are usually high in calories and can have some questionable saturated and trans fats. The exception to the rule is Greek yogurt-based dressings, which is usually very low in fat and high in protein.
- Oil-Based: Italian, oil and vinegar, balsamic, non-sweet vinaigrettes
- Cream-Based or Sweet-Focused: Ranch, French, Thousand Island, Caesar, honey mustard
Rule 4: Always Pair Your Salad with Protein
Protein is your best friend! It gives you lots of nutrients and helps you feel full, so don’t forget to include protein in every meal. Or even in every salad!
Slices of grilled chicken, steak, salmon, shrimp, or tuna are great additions and can be prepared in a variety of ways.
Vegetarian Options: Pairing beans and brown rice or quinoa (great for taco salads!), nuts, tofu, tempeh, greek yogurt (such a good additive!), seeds, chia seeds, and vegetarian friendly meat substitutes.