Salads don’t always have to be a boring “diet food” with just iceberg lettuce, a tomato and a few cucumber slices thrown onto a plate. However, on the other hand, some salads (especially at popular chain restaurants) can pack on thousands of calories. But don’t fear: here are some tips to keep you salad delicious and healthy at the same time.
1. Make Your Own Dressing:
Instead of pouring on fatty store-bought ranch dressing, try making your own dressing using an olive oil base.
Whisk the oil with your favorite all natural 100% juice, like pear, pineapple, or raspberry to create a thick, delicious salad dressing in minutes. If you’re not a fan of the fruity flavors, simply top your salad with olive oil, lemon and a dash of salt and pepper.
2. Pack on the Nuts
Ditch the fattening croutons for a variety of nutritious nuts. Nuts are packed with good fats and are a great source of Omega 3’s, which contribute to heart health and overall nutrition.
Be creative with your choice of nuts, changing it up from pine nuts, slivered almonds and chopped walnuts. They’ll add an extra crunch to your salad, and you won’t even miss those croutons after all!
3. Say Yes to Fruits
Add fresh fruit to your salad, like chopped apples or fresh strawberry slices. Fruit, which is high in antioxidants and nutrients, will give you a nice, healthy energy boost for the day.
4. Go Green
The greener your salad, the more nutrients it provides. Greens are a great source of important good-for-you minerals, including calcium and potassium. They also provide a variety of vitamins.
Fill your plate with a leafy green base, such as baby spinach or romaine. Then, pile on green vegetables such as fresh string beans, asparagus and broccoli chunks.
Side Note: Even though they aren’t actually green, tomatoes, avocados and black beans provide wonderful nutrients and health benefits as well.
5. Spice it Up
Give your salad an extra boost by adding spices and herbs. Cayanne pepper, red pepper flakes and cilantro will give your salad (and your taste buds) a kick. Also, spices are known to boost your metabolism into high gear.
Experiment with delicious herbs as well, such as oregano, parsley and dill. In summer months, you can find fresh herbs for sale at local stores or gardening centers.
6. Choose Your Protein Wisely
Forget the fried, fat-laden chicken and chose healthy, grilled chicken, fish or shrimp instead.
Vegetarian? Go for the whites of hard-boiled eggs or tofu, which is super high in protein and low in fat and calories.