How to Build the Best. Salad. Ever.
It’s easy to fall into a salad rut if your bowl of greens falls flat in the flavor department or you find yourself feeling famished within an hour of eating it. To get the most out of your salad, step it up with nutrient-rich greens, lean protein and a vibrant array of vegetables, dried fruits, seeds and nuts. Keep it healthy, colorful, fun and satisfying. Start with a Green Base The first step in building a superstar salad is to begin with a nutrient-rich and flavorful foundation in the form of dark leafy greens. They are low in calories plus they pack a nutritional punch of vitamins A and C, fiber, calcium and iron. Give iceberg-type lettuces the cold shoulder since they don’t dish out as many nutrients. Particularly healthy and tasty greens to consider? Spinach, kale, watercress and arugula.
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Add a Protein Boost Keep your energy strong all day long by adding a lean protein atop of your salad. Choose from flavorful options like a hard-boiled egg, a handful of seeds or nuts, hummus, beans or lentils. Or opt for lean chicken, turkey or tofu. Be sure to consult with your Grocery Guide if you need a portion size refresh.
Keep it Colorful Get a fun rainbow of colors into your salad by adding a variety of chopped vegetables. Not only will your salad become more exciting to eat, it becomes a wealth of vitamins and minerals, at about 25 calories per half cup of veggies. Try shredded carrots, red and yellow bell peppers, broccoli, tomatoes and mushrooms.
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Trim Down Your Dressing Turn to dressings that are full of flavor but won’t sabotage your healthy eating habits. Swap creamy dressings, which tend to be loaded with fat, sugar and calories. for vinegar-based options. Flavored vinegars make for delicious salad dressings. Savor them solo or mix them with oil for a touch of healthy fats (one teaspoon of oil counts as one Extra on Nutrisystem; you can have up to three Extras per day). For flavor boosters add in some hot sauce, lime or lemon juice, or balsamic vinegar. If you do opt for the store-bought stuff, remember: Two tablespoons of fat-free salad dressing or one tablespoon of light or reduced fat dressings count as one Extra on Nutrisystem.
Get Creative Add your own signature to your salads. Play with different textures and flavors. Add a teaspoon of seeds for crunch. Sprinkle chewy raisins or dried cranberries for a sweet bite. Load your bowl with fresh, crispy vegetables. Add a tablespoon of olives for a kick of flavor. Keep it fun, while savoring the health benefits your body receives with each bite.
Need some inspiration? Check out all of the awesome recipes here, on The Leaf, to spice things up >