Next time you order a salad
get a custom blend if possible, and follow these tips. You’ll save lots of calories while getting plenty of nutrients..
1. Choose an assortment of deep greens
Romaine lettuce, kale, and spinach are great choices, high in fiber, folate, and vitamin C. Skip the iceberg lettuce, which is mostly water, and not nearly as many nutrients as the deeper greens.
2. Add a mix of colorful non-starchy vegetables
Adding an assortment of colorful vegetables are your best option, as the different colors impart different nutrients. Throw in some orange veggies such as carrots which are rich in contain beta carotene and add tomatoes which contain lycopene. Other great options are vitamin C-rich yellow and red peppers, broccoli, cucumbers, and mushrooms. You get the idea. It’s okay to throw in the kitchen sink, as they say.
3. Add a healthy protein
Add grilled salmon, chicken breast, canned tuna, or sliced turkey as a healthy protein option. Aim for around 4 ounces (a little larger than your palm). Tofu or tempeh makes for a great vegan option. Protein is filling and also helps to stabilize blood sugar. Skip the fried chicken, fried fish, and fatty deli meats such as pastrami. And go easy on the cheese.
4. Toss in your favorite beans or legumes
If you have the urge, toss in some beans or legumes for flavor and added fiber. Chick peas, black beans, kidney beans or lentils are great options. Aim for around 1/2 cup (looks like a cupped hand.) Beans and legumes will add more substance to the salad along with fiber and nutrients. And they will certainly keep you full. But best to skip the re-fried beans.
5. Go easy on the dressing
Salad dressing is high in calories and fat, and we usually get way too much dressing when we order a salad straight off the menu without specifying “light on dressing” or “on the side.” I suggest asking for dressing on the side, and then you can control how much you add.