How to build a healthier salad

How to build a healthier salad

There are few meals so versatile or healthy as the salad. From the green base to the many available toppings and dressings, you've got a lot of choices to make when assembling your salad—some healthier than others.

Whether you've grown tired of your go-to salad or you're looking to make healthier choices, take note of these healthy salad hacks.

  • Delicious as they may be, croutons are often packed with fat and salt, which cancel out the healthier benefits of the rest of your meal. Replace them with walnuts, chia seeds or sunflower seeds to get that tasty crunch you're looking for.
  • Ask for cheese and dressing on the side when ordering at a restaurant to prevent eating a salad covered in calories.
  • Speaking of dressing, it's the easiest way to add extra calories to your salad, so choose wisely. Stay away from creamy options like ranch and blue cheese and instead opt for light, non-fruity vinaigrettes. Also, don't be fooled by a fat-free label. The fat is usually replaced with sugar to make up for a lack of flavor.
  • Make sure not to overdo it on the eggs, which can load up your salad with cholesterol. Limit yourself to one, or better yet, ditch the yolk and opt for egg whites only.
  • Stay away from fatty toppings like bacon. Putting it on top of a salad doesn't make it healthy! If you're looking to add protein, opt for grilled salmon or chicken instead.
  • Speaking of protein, for the grilled option when it comes to your chicken or fish. Topping a leafy green meal with fried chicken strips nearly defeats the purpose of a healthy salad altogether.
  • Just because a dish has "salad" in its name doesn't mean it's your healthiest option. Common culprits: taco salad, chicken salad, tuna salad.

Now that you know the dos and don'ts of salad building, try our favorite recipe for the perfect salad. Work it into your lunch rotation for a nutritious mid-week boost.

  1. Start with your favorite dark, leafy greens. Think spinach, arugula, romaine or a combination of these.
  2. Add shredded carrots and sliced tomatoes for some extra flavor and nutrients.
  3. Add some beans. Black, white and kidney beans are a great source of protein and flavor.
  4. Top it with fish. Wild salmon is a good bet, because it's flavorful and full of nutrients.  
  5. Add sliced avocado. Avocados contain the best kind of fat, unlike other vegetables. They are high-calorie, however, so use them sparingly.
  6. Mix your own vinaigrette. It's as easy as combining vinegar and olive oil, and it's your healthiest option!
  7. Complete your salad with a squeeze of lemon. It'll keep the avocado from getting brown in the office fridge, and it'll brighten the fresh flavors of your salad.


Posted: 11/11/2015 by Goshen Health
Filed under: choices, eating, health, healthy, nutrition

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