By Mary Pletsch 13 Feb 2020 no comment 971 Views

When you think of salads, do you think of a nutritious and filling meal?  Or do you think such a meal would be unappealing and unsatisfying?

If it’s the second, perhaps your idea of a dinner salad is a few sad leaves on a crash dieter’s plate.

The good news is that it’s easy to make a delicious and nutritious salad that will keep you full for hours.

But beware – it’s also possible to buy a salad that makes the burger and fries look like a healthy option!

Here’s how to make a satisfying salad.

Salads that satisfy

If eating salad leaves you feeling hungry an hour later, you’re probably not getting enough protein.  Healthy protein options for your salads include chicken strips, hardboiled eggs, chickpeas, tuna, lentils, shrimp, beans and nuts.  Add protein and a salad becomes a complete meal.

What’s it made of?

There are a number of choices more flavourful and nutritious than iceberg lettuce.  These include red leaf lettuce, spinach, arugula, kale, shredded cabbage and a number of lettuce blends.  Some salads, like the traditional Greek, don’t use lettuce at all.  Chunks of cucumber and tomato also make a great salad base.

What else is in it?

Pump up the flavour—and nutritional variety—with a rainbow of vegetables:  shredded carrots, shredded cabbage, bell peppers, green onions, grape tomatoes, radishes, cucumber…the list goes on.  Finally, boost fibre by sprinkling flax seed on top.

Ingredients to skip

White bread croutons and chow mein noodles are heavily processed and not very nutritious.  If you’d like your salad to have some crunch, try nuts, or seeds such as sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds.

Minimize processed meats such as bacon crumble and shredded ham.  Also, beware salads with excessive amounts of cheese.  See “Salads that Satisfy” above for healthier protein options.

Be wary of pasta salads.  “Salads” that consist primarily of noodles don’t give you the nutritional benefits of vegetable-based salads.  If you must have pasta salad, choose brown wholegrain noodles, add as many vegetables as possible, and forego the mayonnaise-based creamy dressings in favour of a vinaigrette.

The major culprit ruining fast-food chains’ salad options is the dressing.  Next week we’ll talk about choosing healthy salad dressing and how easy it is to make your own.

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