When the right ingredients are included, a salad can be a nutritious, satisfying meal. Follow these guidelines to make sure yours stacks up.
Start with a leafy base. Fill your plate with 1-2 handfuls of leafy green vegetables. The darker the green, the more nutritious. Here are examples:
- Romaine Cabbage
Add color. Add a handful of vegetables and fruits in a variety of colors, such as:
- Bell Peppers
- Apple Slices
Add your protein. Choose a combination of 3 oz meat, ½ cup beans, 1 oz nuts, and 1 oz cheese. If choosing two sources of protein, use only a half-size portion of each. Some suggestions for protein include:
- Black Beans
- Kidney Beans
- Boiled Eggs
- Low-Fat Cottage Cheese (½ c)
Flavor it. Here are some ways to add extra flavor to your salad:
- Dress it – oil-based dressings are lower in calories than creamy dressings. Make your own dressing with oil and vinegar of your choice, and add up to 2 Tbsp to your salad. Avoid choosing light, low-fat and fat-free dressings as these are typically higher in carbs.
- Fresh Herbs or Sprouts
- Freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice
Optional: Add extras.
- Seeds – One ounce of seeds adds protein, fiber, and healthy fats.
Ground Flaxseed Pumpkin Seeds Sunflower Seeds Hemp Seeds
- Avocado or Olives – Both are sources of healthy fats.
- Starch – Feel full longer by adding extra fiber with up to ½ cup whole grains.
Quinoa Whole Wheat Croutons Barley
Avoid extra sugar. This often comes from salad toppings such as:
- Sweetened dried fruits
- Candied nuts
- Dressings with sugar added (Raspberry Vinaigrette)
Remember, the key to eating healthy is having healthy foods around to eat. Check out these tips!