What makes a Salad healthy?
The reason I am writing about this is because there are so many people out there that are eating salads thinking they are healthy and really have no idea what’s in them and what nutritional value they hold, if any. I eat salads almost every day but now I know what should and should not be in them.
Get rid of the Iceberg lettuce (pretty much worthless when it comes to nutritional value) and 90% water. I am not saying it has no vitamins but it sure doesn’t carry the punch the darker greens do. Start with some dark leafy greens such as Spinach, Kale, and Arugula. Those greens contain plenty of vitamins C and K, and have a good bit of calcium. Also gget rid of the fat laden dressings that are so high in calories it will send your macros through the roof.
Next add some raw vegetables. They will have flavonoids (plant based compounds with powerful antioxidant properties). They are known to protect the blood vessel walls and are especially effective in people with heart disease or diabetes. Carrots, radishes, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, artichokes, avocados, tomatoes, and cucumbers are all healthy salad toppings. And the dark greens are going to be the lowest in calories. Forget the croutons, you don’t need them.
Now for a healthy dressing option. Stay away from the thick cream based dressings. If you absolutely have to have a cream based dressing go with a yogurt dressing such as Bolthouse ranch (you can’t tell the difference and this is a much healthier option). Better yet, make your own. One of my favorite dressings that can be made at home consists of coconut oil, lemon juice, a splash of apple cider vinegar, honey and sea salt. Healthy and tasty. So simple but yet so good.
If you’re really looking for the best way to top this, sprinkle chia and flax seeds on it. Adding this to your salad is an easy way to make sure you are getting some added omega 3’s and a good amount of fiber which is important for your digestive health.
So if you are making your salads at home, opt for this. If you are out and about at a restaurant and want to have a salad, skip the ceaser salad or the house salad made with iceberg lettuce. Go for the mixed greens with veggies and a vinaigrette on the side for dressing. You can always add chicken, shrimp, chickpeas or a hardboiled egg for some added protein. Bon appetit!
Health & Happiness! Janet