If you’re like most people, chances are you could use more veggies in your diet. Eating a healthy, nutrient rich, low-cal salad is not only good for you, it can be completely satisfying if you add the right ingredients. In honor of National Salad month, we encourage you to punch it up and wake up your palette with these healthy salad tips.
Be inspired and be healthy!
Step One: More Leafy Greens Please!
Today show nutritionist Joy Bauer says to choose a base for your salad that provides important nutrients like folic acid and lutein. “Give up the iceberg for mesclun greens, baby spinach, or a spring mix that includes a variety of dark green lettuces”, she says in her post, 5 Tips for Building a Healthier Salad.
Instead of adding cheese, add sliced peperonicnis or jalapeño stuffed olives.
Step Two: Get colorful and creative with fruits, vegetables and herbs!
Pile on as many vegetables as possible. The more seasonal and local your vegetables are, the better (think Farmers Markets). Summer is the perfect time to indulge in a multitude of fresh seasonal fruits, veggies and herbs. When making your salad, go for different textures and tastes. You can also use leftovers you find in the fridge (like grilled veggies- YUM) and many pantry staples like olives, peppers, artichoke hearts, and more.
Step Three: Add Protein
In her post, Joy Bauer also recommends adding protein to your salad for a satisfying meal.
“If you’re opting for animal protein, select one lean source (or two if you’re extra-hungry), such as four egg whites or three ounces of skinless chicken or turkey breast, water-packed chunk light tuna, wild salmon, or lean sirloin steak. If you’re vegetarian or just want to mix it up, choose half a cup of cubed tofu or three-quarters of a cup of chickpeas, kidney beans, pinto beans, or other legumes”.
Step Four: Add some additional toppings for extra flavor!
These are the items that can take your salad to the next level, but have the potential to pack in too much fat and calories if you aren’t careful. Toppings like chopped nuts, seeds, shredded cheese, croutons, dried cranberries or raisins, and salad dressings are fantastic on salads, but should be used sparingly. For less fat and more flavor in your meals, think about adding something spicy to your salad.
Here are some more salad tips to inspire you:
- Toss Sun-Ripened Dried Tomatoes with chilled cooked pasta, sliced Kalamata Olives and Marinated Artichoke Hearts for a colorful and delicious pasta salad.
- Toss pitted Castelvetrano Olives with mixed baby greens, orange sections, shaved fennel and a light lemon vinaigrette for a beautiful and refreshing salad.
- For a tangy vegetarian version of a classic Caesar salad, use Capers in place of the traditional anchovies.
- Toss Spicy Italian Olive Antipasto, along with its marinade, with romaine lettuce and tomato wedges. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and top with crumbled feta cheese for a super quick and delicious salad.
- Toss pitted Kalamata Olives with feta cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, olive oil and red wine vinegar for a refreshing Greek salad.
- Add diced Jalapeño Stuffed Olives to a Southwestern black bean salad.
- Toss Sliced Pepperoncini into a mixed green salad for an extra punch of flavor.
- Add Sliced Hot Cherry Peppers to salads for a boost of color and flavor.
- Arrange Roasted Bell Pepper Strips on a serving plate along with sliced fresh mozzarella and julienned fresh basil. Drizzle with olive oil and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Top photo by @veggielovingmom on Instagram http://ow.ly/zZgcj