Salads have a bad wrap in modern society. Usually, when someone thinks about starting a health kick they refer to eating greens with a little dressing ... which is depressing!
Salads are a beautiful way to kick up your vegetable intake, and your healthy fat and protein intake as well! I will let you know all the tips and tricks on how to make the most nutritious and delicious salads every time!
How to Assemble a Salad: Always start with a GREEN base. This can be kale, spinach, romaine or broccoli. Green vegetables contain chlorophyll, a multitude of vitamins (such as vitamin A, C, K and folate), minerals and fibre. When you feed your cells with all the micronutrients they need they will be satisfied and you will not experience hunger signals an hour later, essentially leading to over eating. You could be eating 10,000 calories a day but if you are not supplying your cells with the nutrients they need you will ALWAYS be starving on a cellular level.
Next add any other vegetables that you desire to consume in the salad. The more variety the more nutrients you will receive. Sprouts, carrots, celery, cucumber, tomato or green beans just to name a few. If the vegetables are raw they will hold more nutrients and active enzymes than cooked veg. However adding grilled zucchini or roasted sweet potato will add elevated flavours to any salad! Aim for the most colourful salad that you can create when choosing vegetables to add.
A healthy fat is a must in salads. What I love to do is add avocado and mash it into the greens so that I do not need a dressing. Avocados are excellent sources of healthy fats and consuming 1/4 avocado will give you one serving. Another healthy fat would be a drizzle of olive oil (about 1 tablespoon) or a handful of nuts or seeds. Having 2 servings of fat in a salad is optimal. For myself, avocado and nuts/seeds for crunch is my go to!
Adding a fruit of some sorts will liven up the salad! My personal favourite is adding chopped strawberries or pomegranate seeds, but any berry, apple or mandarin orange will do! Just a touch of sweetness will excite your taste buds leaving you wanting more.
Incorporating protein to a meal is important for body repair and hunger satiety. In my opinion a plant based protein is always the best way to go. Plant based proteins are easier for the body to digest and absorb (more bio-available) than animal based proteins. Chickpeas, beans, tofu, and tempeh are my personal favourite proteins to add to my salad. Tuna, eggs and chicken are my secondary choices.
Lastly, adding cheese to a salad is like the cherry on top of an ice cream sundae - optional but a lovely finish. Whether you would prefer to crumble a bit of feta or shred some cheddar or even spread a little goat cheese, it will complete the most nutritious and delicious salad!
To recap, a salad needs greens, added veg, a healthy fat, a crunch, fruit, protein and always optional cheese to go from fine to fantastic!
Written by: Kelly Carter