I eat a salad pretty much everyday for lunch. And when I say a salad, I mean a big colorful one!
So you'll guess than I'm excited to share my best-kept secrets on salad creation!
Making a salad appears simple enough but do you really know how to build a nutritious and balanced one that will keep you satiated all afternoon?
I sure do! Keep on reading for all my tips.
As a rule, here's the golden formula for a balanced and satiating salad:
Now let's dive deeper into what each of those categories include and how to pick the most nutritious ingredients.
I could eat greens all day long. It's honestly what my body craves. Some friends call me a rabbit and I can't disagree with them!
The key to keeping things interesting here is to change it up daily. If greens for you only means a mesclun salad, things are going to get boring pretty quickly.
Your greens will make the base of your salad. You want a generous cup (or two).
Ideally, pick organic vegetables so they have a low amount of pesticides and toxins. If that's an issue with your budget, no worries. Follow EWG's clean 15 list (meaning these 15 produces contain the least amount of pesticides and can be purchased non organic).
Here are some of my favorites greens on rotation:
This is where you can have fun and bring color and taste to your salad. Try to include 2-3 different options to make up a generous cup.
Get creative and pull from this list:
If you're ok with eating vegetables from the nightshade family, you can also consider adding tomatoes, peppers and eggplants.
Don't skip vegetables and only do greens. The combination will offer a wider range of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients while also providing important amounts of fiber to ensure you feel satiated.
Proteins are essential to the body, no doubt about it. However, I've come to learn that we don't need as much as the recent Keto and Paleo trends seem to present it.
First off, it's important to not overdo the animal protein. While they offer a vast array of undeniable benefits, they can also raise inflammation (especially red meat and pork), making it harder on the body to heal.
Also note that cold cuts are processed meat and therefore not ideal. It's best to avoid them if you can.
When picking an animal protein, be sure to consider how they were raised. Industrial meats should be avoided at all cost. Here are a few hints when picking your meat:
I like to have a plant-based or fish protein with my lunch and keep the animal protein for dinner but the opposite would be great too. It's best not to have animal protein with each meal.
For fish options, it's important to prioritize a smaller fish to reduce mercury content. Always go for wild-caught.
This FDA Fish Consumption Advice Chart can be helpful in picking what to consume on a weekly basis:
For plant-based proteins, I like the following, organic as much as possible:
Remember that you can use more than one and get creative!
Your Root Vegetables
These are the feel-good vegetables with a higher carb content. They are more satisfying but should be used sparingly depending on your weight goals. As mentioned above, you can omit them for weight loss goals and do a full cup for weight gain goals.
Reach for these hearty root vegetables:
Your Healthy Fats
Your eyes, brain and neurological system thrive on healthy fats. It's important to include 1-3 tablespoon with each meal.
You can safely go with these options:
The Final Touch: Spices
Spices are the secret to a tasty salad that will make you crave it again and again.
I like to use fresh herbs whenever possible and I can never get enough Himalayan sea salt.
Wake up your taste buds with these:
What about dressing?
Salad dressing is where the damage can happen and that's where most people go wrong.
The dressing should not overpower the wonderful ingredients of your salad but rather complement it.
Steer clear of any store-bought dressings...even the ones that look healthy. Most often than not, they contain canola and seed oils as well as preservatives that will undo the benefits of your salad.
Simple is best! I live to simply drizzle Extra-Virgin Olive oil and squeeze half a lemon or lime. With the spices, it's perfectly balanced and just like nature intended.
If you don't suffer for candida or yeast overgrowth, you could also use some apple cider vinegar or balsamic vinegar instead of the lemon.
You could also add a dash of Dijon mustard if you're wanting something more tangy and a drop of maple syrup to balance it off.
Again: keep it simple!
What if you feel bloated after eating your salad?
First, let me reassure you. A salad is literally the food that takes the longest to digest - it can take more than 3h!
If you know you have bloating issues here are some tips to consider:
Voilà! Here are my top tips and secrets to a delicious salad that you'll now start craving everyday.