A bowl full of healthy salad ingredients can be more than a clean eating obligation; it can be a satiating, delicious meal to look forward to. The following 7 ways to prepare a smarter salad include salad recipes, tips to make salads healthier, and recommendations for salad add-ins.
1. Make Your Own Dressing
Bottled dressings often contain high fructose corn syrup, fatty oils and salt, ingredients which threaten to cancel out the health benefits of your salad. Learning how to make your own dressing is the first step to a smarter salad. Dressings are surprisingly simple to make at home. Check out 3 Easy Vinaigrette Recipes to get you started.
2. Dress Your Salad
Even with a homemade dressing, it’s important to go easy, especially if you’re counting calories. Olive oil is a low in saturated fat and high in omega-3 fatty acids, but it packs 119 calories per tablespoon. Dress your salad instead of drenching it.
3. Add Lots of Color
A colorful salad does more than please the eye. The colors of produce items reflect unique antioxidant and phytonutrient content, both of which work to prevent cell damage that leads to cancer. Check out this Rainbow Salad with Honey Lemon Dressing.
Research suggests that taking antioxidant supplements does not carry a clear correlation with reduced cancer risk. Researchers believe this is because supplements lack the combination of antioxidants and phytonutrients we get from food sources. It is believed that, when obtained from food, these substances work together in complex ways to protect our cells. Learn more about this from the Harvard School of Public Health.
4. Add Protein
If you want to make a meal out of a salad, don’t forget the protein. It’s easy to get stuck in the “salad = vegetables” false equation. Adding tofu, salmon, steak, chicken, chickpeas, lentils, eggs, or quinoa will give you a satiating salad and prevent the need for extra snacking.
5. Jar It
Mason jar salads are becoming quite popular for a good reason. They keep salads fresh longer, meaning that you can jar up some salads on the weekend for a healthy grab-and-go lunch during the work week. Check out the Mediterranean Quinoa Salad in a jar.
6. Make it Exciting
Leafy greens, as we all know, are important to a healthy diet, and salads are a great way to get them. But boredom can be the downfall of a healthy eating plan. If you’re getting sick of greens-based salads, switch it up. Try this Farro Salad with Apples and Walnuts recipe. If you feel yourself getting bored, take your boredom seriously and rework your eating plan.
7. Add fresh herbs
The standard American diet relies heavily on salt, fats, and sugar for flavor. Those who eat healthily have plenty of options that will add flavor to their meals, one of which is fresh herbs. These can be used both in dressings and as salad ingredients themselves. They contain a number of medicinal and health properties as well. Check out this Heirloom Tomato Salad with Herbs.
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