I love salads. And so should you! They are green treasures bursting with delicious nutrition.
Eating salad regularly nourishes you from the inside out.
Today I will show you how to upgrade your salad to be even more vitamin-packed, balanced and satisfying.A good salad has many components. It should contain a variety of ingredients, textures, and flavors. It should be filling without being heavy, delicious yet still healthy, and a breeze to assemble. I have come up with a simple template to make your salad eating experience that much more enjoyable! GREENS: These will make up the base of your salad. They are what you can use to bulk up your salad, both in volume and in nutrition! Greens are packed with vitamins and minerals, so eat up!
Aim for 2-4 cups of greens (mix and match!): lettuces, arugula, mesclun, spinach, kale, chard, cabbage, cucumber, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini.
STARCHY VEGETABLES: These are my favorite. They add so many levels of flavors and textures. Also a perfect way to use up leftover roasted, grilled or steamed vegetables!
Aim for 1-2 cups: pumpkin, squash, carrots, green beans, asparagus, eggplant, mushrooms, corn, beets, peas, sweet potato, potatoes, parsnips.
PROTEIN: The building blocks of your body. You need adequate amounts of protein to maintain muscle, build strong nails and hair, and stay satiated! There are plenty of options for quality protein for vegetarians too!
Aim for 3-4 oz, or a half cup: beans, chickpeas, edamame, lentils, tofu, cottage cheese, eggs, chicken, tuna, salmon, turkey, veggie burgers.
GRAINS: (optional) Still hungry? Add some grains to your salad! Whole grains have staying power, added nutrients, and an extra boost of protein!
Aim for half a cup (cooked): brown/black/wild/white rice, quinoa, bulgar, wheatberries, pasta, soba noodles.
FRUIT: (optional) For that irresistable sweetness! Fruits can enhance flavors and make your salad colorful.
Aim for half a cup: apples, pear, strawberries, pomegranate, oranges, mango, nectarines, figs, grapes, melon, etc.
FAT: For that shiny, enviable hair and soft skin! Fats are essential in your diet, just choose healthy, whole sources.
Aim for 2-3 Tbsp:
Nuts: almonds, walnuts, cashews, macadamias, pecans, brazil nuts, pistachios
Seeds: pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, hemp, chia, flax
Avocado, coconut, olive/coconut oil, cheese.
TOPPINGS: Think salads are boring? Never! Take yours to the next level with some unique toppings!
Add just a sprinkle: dried cranberries, raisins, goji berries, coconut shreds, homemade croutons and tortilla strips (drizzle some oil and salt on a tortilla, bake at 250 for 20 minutes or until golden and crispy)
DRESSING: To tie it all together! Dressings are notorious for being fat and calorie-packed, but they don't have to be! Instead of using store-bought dressing, whisk up your own!
Drizzle: citrus juice (lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit ), apple cider vinegar, balsamic, mustard, tahini, herbs
Or a quarter cup: salsa, hummus, avocado, guacamole.
DIRECTIONS: Pick and choose whatever you want! The basic template includes greens, protein and fat, but add in choices from the other groups to make your salad top-notch! Layer all the ingredients in a large serving bowl, mix, and inhale.
1) Make it a chopped salad: chop all ingredients into equal sized pieces and toss.
2) Wrap it up! Fill a tortilla or pita with your ingredients! (use less or it will explode)
3) Stirfry! Add veg, protein and grain ingredients (fully cooked) into a pan, heat, plate and add toppings! The possibilities are endless. Have fun experimenting with your salad masterpiece!