"Salad" can be a tricky word when it comes to "healthy." The definition for salad is either a mixture of raw green vegetables or a mixture of small pieces of raw or cooked food. It sounds healthy, but it's not always the case. Salad dressings like blue cheese and ranch can be high in fat and sodium, Southwestern salads can be high in calories when served in a tortilla bowl and chock-full of cheese, dried fruit can be loaded with sugar, and salads that contain protein like "fried" chicken tenders can be high in calories as well.
If you want to make and eat the best salads possible, consider these tips.
- Create a nutritious foundation with greens such as arugula, kale, or spinach.
- When picking vegetables, include the colors of the rainbow: tomatoes, carrots, yellow bell peppers, cucumbers, etc.
- If you're making a salad to eat as a complete meal, you can pack on protein like beans, grilled chicken, or tofu.
- Extra toppings like grains, herbs, and nuts (in moderation) will keep a salad healthy and give it some oomph.
- Instead of sugary dried fruit, add fresh fruits like blueberries, mangoes, or strawberries to your salads.
- Choose healthy alternatives to creamy dressings that contain a lot of calories and fats. Extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar are good choices, and a spritz of lemon juice will enhance the flavor of a salad even more.
If you're serious about salads for good health, you must be aware of what ingredients you're using to prepare salads.