Salads are a healthy option, right? You can treat yourself to that afternoon snack if you've had a salad for lunch because you've virtually eaten no carbs, or so you think.
Firstly, you may be choosing a weak green as the base of your meal. Lettuce is the must-have addition to a salad but if you go for refreshing options like iceberg or romaine, you're not getting as many nutrients. Darker leafs like spinach, kale or mixed greens offer more and are neutral in flavour enough to pick up the other tastes. Of course you can mix things up if you wish, giving both a bite and energy boost to your salad.
There are lots of produce to add to your salad as well. Nuts, croutons and seeds are just one of many extra treats you can include and the more you have, the more benefits you'll be getting from your food. Make the most of any vegetables in season and pile them onboard, giving a mixture of cooked and raw. The more nutrients you add the better your salad becomes, and the more colourful ingredients the more appetising it looks to eat.
It's easy to assume having a salad means you should avoid all types of fat, but that isn't necessarily true. Sure, you shouldn't add a load of fried potatoes or a ton of grated cheese, but don't exclude all fats. Scattering a few walnuts in and drizzling with olive oil will not only add to the overall texture and taste, they'll also provide you with the perfect intake of calories. If you are a cheese fan, why not go for a small scattering of goat's cheese or feta.
These cheeses are also full of protein, which will keep you fuller for longer. A woman needs around 46 grams a day, while men need ten more for a healthy diet. You could make up this number by lean meats like beef and chicken, and fish is also packed full of protein. Vegetarian? Go for cubed tofu, frozen edamame or hard-boiled eggs.
Lastly, a big mistake many of us make is piling on the dressing. This can add an extortionate amount of calories to your salad, making it just as bad as having something like a slice of pizza. Keep track of how much you add and go for low-fat options, or perhaps look into making your own dressing so you know exactly what you're drizzling your food in.
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