Building a Better Salad

Salad

Health Benefits:

  • Eating salads are a good way to load up on dietary fiber, calcium, iron, vitamins A and C, beneficial phytochemicals and other important nutrients.
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables have a high water content, so salads are hydrating and also low in calories.

Picking Your Greens:

  • Vary the greens in your salads. Red and green lettuces are fine, but use other varieties too, such as chopped Romaine, arugula and baby herbs.
  • A blend of lettuces may protect best against free radicals.

Preparing Greens:

  • Skip the faucet. Swirl greens in a bowl of cold water instead of rinsing them under running water. Softer lettuces are less likely to get smushed plus the bath is better for loosening any grit.
  • Dry every time. Any moisture will prevent dressings from coating the leaves. Whirl off the water in a salad spinner or use the hands-off approach by letting washed greens chill in a clean kitchen towel in the fridge for an hour.
  • Ditch the tongs as they can bruise leaves. Instead first place dressing in the bottom of a big bowl, then top with the greens and gently toss them over and around using the fingertips of both hands.

Packing in Protein:

  • One protein is all you need. Choose a serving of meat, fish, beans, or cheese to prevent extra calories & fat.
  • Examples of healthful plant sources of protein: garbanzo beans, black beans, kidney beans, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, chopped walnuts, slivered almonds or soy nuts.

Creating Crunch:

  • Stick with crunchy toppers like celery, peppers, and cucumbers to get the best healthy boost.
  • Skip croutons, noodles, and tortilla strips.

More Fruits & Veggies:

  • Sliced, cooked beets or chunks of butternut squash, tomato wedges, corn cut off the cob, grated carrots, chopped bell pepper, cold, sliced potatoes, and string beans
  • Apple, pineapple, mango, or berries
  • Pick 1/4 cup of pomegranate over raisins to save 18 grams of sugar

Flavoring with (healthy) Fat:

  • MUFAs help you absorb carotenoids found in veggies like spinach & carrots.
  • Instead of traditional oil try 10 olives, 12 almonds, 7 walnut halves, or 1/4 avocado which is equivalent to 1-2 teaspoons of oil.

DIY Dressing:

  • Making your own dressing is the easiest way to avoid excess sugar and chemical emulsifiers

Not Your Traditional Leafy Green Salads:

  • Vinegar-based coleslaw, three-bean salad, pasta salad, cucumber and tomato salad, tortellini salad, black bean salad and others.
  • Sauteed, cooked summer vegetables such as yellow squash and zucchini squash, red, yellow and green bell peppers, onions and garlic.
  • Fruit salad. Fresh strawberry halves are a great choice. Also try fresh figs and red or yellow raspberries.

Use in Moderation (If At All):

  • Toppings like bacon, cheese, croutons and creamy dressings can result in a higher calorie count than a burger and fries

References:

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