Salad has always been associated with healthy eating but what really makes a salad healthy?
Most of us know what goes into a salad. However, what is the best combination that promises a balanced and healthy bowl of salad? Here’re our tips on what to put in your next salad that’s not just delicious but also healthy.
Leafy greens such as lettuce, rocket, and watercress are popular greens used in salads. Besides fibre, greens such as lettuce and spinach are excellent sources of vitamin K and vitamin A.
Besides that, broccoli and kale are rich in vitamin C and provide different textures in a salad. Snow peas are a great addition as well because they’re sweet, contain fibre and lend some crunch to a salad.
Red bell peppers are sweet and packed with vitamin C and antioxidants such as lycopene which could help protect against UV damage. If you’re a little turned off by its raw taste, simply grill it lightly with a little olive oil and salt to bring out its sweetness and soften it a little.
Oranges add a sweet and sour kick to any salad and plenty of vitamin C and fibre. Carrots also add some sweetness and a splash of colour along with beta carotene which is beneficial for our eyesight.
Avocadoes add richness to a salad which is great especially if you’re lactose intolerant. It is also an excellent source of vitamin E that’s important in healthy immunity, skin and eyes.
Blueberries added to a salad lends a splash of colour and a little tartness.
Adding protein in the form of meat or dairy can leave you feeling fuller for longer.
Cheese such as feta is already salty so there’s no need to add extra salt to your salads. Feta cheese contains vitamin B2 which is important in preventing migraines.
Chicken or turkey meat, in a salad adds a big punch of protein and fills you up without needing to worry about the fat content.
1. Too Many Croutons. Did you know that 30grams of croutons contain 122 calories? Yes, they provide a lovely crunch to a salad but it also adds empty calories into your meal. Replace them with a handful of nuts and that takes care of the crunch factor and also your healthy fats intake.
2. Pre-made Salad Dressing because there’s no telling how much fat and sugar has gone into making these.
Here are some suggestions of healthy salad dressings that you can make in the comfort of your own home.
Raspberry Balsamic Vinaigrette
1 cup fresh raspberries
1 tbsp white sugar
2/3 cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup olive oil
1 tbsp honey
½ tsp salt
Mix the raspberries and sugar together then leave aside for 10 minutes till it gets juicy. Mash the berries with the fork and mix in the rest of the ingredients, pour into a jar and shake till it’s mixed well. This vinaigrette will go very well with salad greens, blueberries, walnuts and crumbled feta cheese.
References: All Recipes; United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).