Salads are a great way to introduce more protein, fiber, healthy fats, and other nutrients into your diet. They are also a smart option if you have resolved to eat more vegetables or are looking to improve your diet. Unfortunately, not all salads are created equal. You should be mindful of salad ingredients and portion sizes, whether you’re dining at a restaurant or making a salad at home. To enjoy healthier and tastier salads, heed these helpful salad tips.
- Dark leafy greens (kale, spinach, arugula) offer a more nutritious mix. If you prefer a different lettuce, try mixing them together. Nutrition is important, but you also want to make a salad that you will enjoy.
- Most grocery stores sell ready-made mixed greens, but it’s easy to DIY as well. Keep textures and flavors in mind when creating your own mix. For example, romaine and iceberg are better choices for crunch than spinach or arugula. Also, watercress and arugula will add a peppery flavor in contrast to the mildness of Bibb lettuce or simple green leaf lettuce.
- Seasoning your greens can really enhance your salad. Just because you are not technically cooking with them doesn’t mean your greens won’t benefit from a little salt and pepper.
- Lettuce doesn’t have to be the star of every salad. Get creative and use other vegetables, fresh and dried fruits, nuts, or cooked grains as a base or addition. Just remember to keep portion sizes in mind.
- Load up on veggies – the more colorful the better. Add as much or as many types of undressed produce as you’d like, but be sure to watch for high-calorie items (such as olives, avocados, potatoes).
- Pick a lean protein (chicken breast, tofu, chickpeas, hardboiled egg, grilled fish), which will help to increase satiety.
- Your body has an easier time absorbing some of the nutrients in vegetables when they’re eaten with oil, avocado, nuts, or some other type of healthy fat.
- If you’re craving a treat (bacon bits, croutons, cheese) go ahead and pick one, but sprinkle lightly.
- Salads are perfect for adding whatever herbs you may have, but you can also use the leafier herbs (cilantro, parsley) as a green. For example, cilantro works perfectly in a taco salad, basil for a tomato-mozzarella salad, or mint in a feta-olive salad.
- Prep your ingredients into easy, bite-sized pieces. It may take a bit more time, but it will be much more convenient when you are finally eating the salad. Also, with smaller pieces, you can pick up more on your fork, making for an interesting bite every time.
- Aim for no more than about 2 tablespoons of salad dressing. Dressing is often the biggest contributor of calories, sodium, and fats in a salad. Also, oil & vinegar is better option than a creamy dressing.
- If you can, make the salad dressing. The classic ratio for homemade vinaigrette is three parts oil to one part vinegar (you can add more vinegar if you like your dressing more acidic). You can also mix and match with lots of ingredients (mustard, chili flakes, shallots, herbs).
- To avoid a wilted salad, try dressing the salad just before you eat. Start with a little bit at a time as salads can go from dry to overdressed very quickly. And by dressing the salad beforehand, you allow the dressing to be evenly distributed.
Visit the Brick Your Neighborhood Deli in Pomona for our yummy sandwiches or build your own mixed greens salad. We are open weekdays 7:00am-4:00pm and Saturdays 8:00am-4:30pm.