Build a Better Salad
Swapping in a salad for lunch or dinner (or dare I say, breakfast) and you’re well on your way to getting in your daily intake fruits and veggies. However, salads are often a sneaky source of excess calories and fat if you’re choosing high calorie dressings or toppings. What gives?
Use these helpful tips to build a healthy and delicious salad the next time you visit the salad bar.
Lead with Leafy Greens… or grains!
Leafy greens and whole grains are a blank canvas in a salad bowl. Consider these the base of your salad to which you will add layers of flavor. You don’t have to choose one or the other here – get wild and mix it up! Explore new whole grains and leafy greens to find your favorite combination.
Add Colorful Veggies… and fruits!
Build layers of flavor with colorful vegetables and fruits. Sliced and diced raw veggies and fruits, as well as cooked ones, all make for nutritious salad additions. Don’t be shy -- really load up here! Vegetables and fruits are nutrient-dense and a good source of fiber, which helps fill you up and keeps you full longer.
Pick Up Some Protein (and Plant-Based Counts!)
Adding protein ensures your salad has staying power. After all, no one wants to be hungry just a few short hours after eating. Opt for lean proteins, such as fish, turkey, chicken, or lean beef. Plant-based sources of protein, such as tofu, beans, edamame, and tempeh are also nutritious choices and many have the added benefit of being a source of both protein and fiber. Limit high fat and high sodium options such as deep fried meats, processed meats like bacon or sausage, and those proteins doused in salt-heavy sauces like buffalo sauce.
Drizzle with Dressing (and Other Healthy Fats)
Dressings shouldn’t be demonized. Many are a good source of heart-healthy fats like olive or avocado oil! Drizzle dressings alongside other flavor-boosters like a squeeze of citrus juice or a dash of vinegar. Replace fried toppings with heart-healthy nuts and seeds to finish your salad with some crunch.
Try these FLIK approved dressings as a great way to flavor up your salads at home:
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Written by Allison Knott, MS, RDN, CSSD