I’ve made it a mission to try to convince people that eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring. Healthy eating doesn’t have to be centered around what you “can’t” have. But instead shifting your focus to all of the foods that you can and should have, in abundance!
Salads are a great way to eat the abundant foods available to us and to also incorporate flavor, nutrients, color, and texture into our diet. When I first started my weight loss journey, I committed to eating a salad a day, because I rarely ate vegetables. I was the fried food queen!
Even now, well over 10 years later, I still try to eat salads as one of my daily meals. If I don’t eat a salad per se, I still aim to eat at least 5-6 servings of fruits and veggies per day. I noticed that when I haven’t eaten fruits or veggies for most of the day, my body will crave them, which is actually a good thing
But if you were like me and a little apprehensive about how you’re going to fit more servings of fruits and veggies into your day, then I think this blog post will give you some great ideas on how to eat more salads and make them more appealing!
Essential Components – How I Build My Salads
Green Leafy Veggie –I typically choose romaine hearts. You can also go with iceberg lettuce, butter lettuce, red or green leaf lettuce, spinach, collards, kale, arugula, or a mixture of any. You can choose whatever you’d like
Macronutrients – These are your body’s sources of fuel and include, protein, carbs, and fat. When a meal contains all three macronutrients, you’re more likely to feel full and also get the essential vitamins and minerals your body needs to execute body processes and physical activity. Below are some of my favorite add-ins for these nutrients. Of course, you can include your own. The key is to make the salad appealing to your palette
Protein- Hard-boiled eggs, lentils, beans, deli turkey meat, shredded chicken, chicken sausage, tuna, salmon, turkey pepperoni, diced ham, crumbled turkey bacon
Carbs –Beans, roasted butternut squash, corn, roasted sweet potato, roasted parsnips, roasted carrots, roasted eggplant, tomatoes, roasted yellow or green zucchini, mushrooms, peppers (red, orange, yellow, or green), banana peppers, olives, radishes, beets, olives, sliced apples, pears, blackberries, strawberries, or blueberries
Fats – crumbled blue, feta or goat cheese, and Parmesan cheese. I love cheese! But if you choose not to eat it due to a particular diet or a food intolerance, avocados are also a great healthy fat to add that also has a lot of flavor. With fat options, it’s easy for the calories to really rack up. So for my salads, I find that two tablespoons of cheese are enough. For Avocado’s, aim for about ¼ of an Avocado or less
Color – Eat the rainbow! We eat with our eyes first. So when a meal is more colorful, it is more visually appealing to us and we’re more likely to be satisfied eating it. Foods that are different colors provide different essential vitamins and nutrients. Foods are a specific color for a reason.
Blue/Purple – contain anthocyanin’s which may help protect the body against heart disease and prevent blood clotting
Green – Excellent source of vitamin K, folic acid, potassium, Vitamin A, Omega-3 fatty acids, reduces blood clot formation and lowers blood pressure
Yellow/Green – Contain Lutein which is beneficial for eye health
Red – Contain lycopene, which is a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants reduce the risk of cancer and can protect against heart attacks
Yellow/Orange – Contain vitamin C, which is an antioxidant. They also contain vitamin A, which is an important nutrient to support vision, immune function, as well as skin and bone health. They also may contain omega-3 fatty acids
Salad Dressing – Most store bought brands have added sugar, sodium, and preservatives. But there are a couple of brands that have a pretty decent ingredient’s list, such as Bolthouse Farms, which has a Greek Yogurt base. Other options include Annie’s or Walden Farms. I choose to make my using Dijon Mustard, Red Wine Vinegar or Rice Vinegar, and Liquid Amino’s (soy sauce alternative)
Inexpensive – Especially if you buy your produce in season. You can search Pinterest or do a Google search to find out what is in season for a particular month
Easy to Prepare – During my Sunday Meal Prep (Click here and here to check out my Meal Prep Posts!), I roast and chop up my salad ingredients. Then during the week, I put my salad ingredients together the night before. It takes less than 10 minutes
Nutritious – Not only can they give you the macronutrients (fuel) your fabulous self needs, you also get vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients, such as fiber. Fiber keeps you full and regular!
What do you enjoy adding to your salad?
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