Salads are a great way to nourish your body and stock up on much needed nutrients. Full of fiber, a salad can fill you up, allowing you to reduce your overall calorie intake. But beware, not all salads are created equal. A bed of healthy greens can easily turn into a high fat, super sodium, cholesterol-laden side dish.
Strive to keep things interesting and in balance when creating a salad. Get the most bang for your buck by adding in nutrient dense toppings and keep the dressing to a minimum to reduce your fat intake and truly taste the flavors of the greens themselves.
5 Basic Steps to a great salad:
- Make the bed: Start with a bed of organic, dark leafy greens like spinach, kale, arugula, Swiss chard, romaine or collards. Better yet, get a mixture of greens to get a mixture of phytonutrients into your body. Skip the iceberg lettuce unless it's your only option.
- Add some color: Be creative, see how many different colored veggies you can add like red, green or yellow peppers. How about some carrots, peas, onions, mushrooms, cabbage or broccoli? Fruit is good too! Try apples, grapes, oranges, avocado or strawberries. Think of it as adding a multivitamin to your salad, but much better tasting!
- Go lean with a bit of protein: Protein will help with cellular repair and sustainable energy. It will also help control your appetite. Add in some lean animal protein like chicken, turkey or tuna. Toss in some low fat cheese to balance out the flavors with a pungent aroma. Get nutty and throw in some almond slivers, walnuts or toasted pecans. Seeds are great too: sunflower, sesame, flax, chia etc.
- Dress it up with healthy fats/oil: Top with extra virgin olive oil vinaigrette or your favorite low fat dressing. Be careful, keep fats under control and try having your dressing on the side. Two tablespoons is an appropriate serving of salad dressing. Stay away from salad dressings that use corn oil, canola oil or contain High Fructose Corn Syrup.
- Enjoy: Chew food slowly and thoroughly. This will allow your digestive enzymes to break down these foods completely so that you can absorb the nutrients properly. Digestion starts in your mouth, so chew before you swallow!
Coaching you to "Feel Better and Live Longer!"
Jody Anderson, RN, CHC
Succeed Health, LLC- Algoma