Great Health Tip of the Day: National Salad Month

May 28, 2014

Do you consider salad to be rabbit food? If so, you haven’t thought very creatively about salads, because they can be so much more! In fact, salads are not only great as an accompaniment to a Caesar salad, macromeal, they can stand alone as a balanced meal. As the weather heats up, a light, balanced salad may be just the answer for a quick weeknight meal. In order to make your salad balanced, be sure to include foods from the following food groups:

  • Vegetables: This is a no-brainer… salad should have veggies—and lots of them! Try to make your salad as colorful as possible, since different colors mean a variety of nutrients. Include greens (spinach, kale, mixed greens), carrots, red cabbage, bell peppers, tomatoes, and whatever else you love.
  • Fruit: I love adding fruit to my salad. It not only adds a natural sweetness, but including fruits with vitamin C (mandarin oranges, strawberries, melon) will help you absorb iron from your spinach, beans, and other iron-containing foods.
  • Lean Protein: This can include chicken, turkey, salmon, tuna, eggs, or plant-based protein sources, like beans, nuts, seeds, or tofu. I love to toss eggs, beans, sunflower seeds, and walnuts in my salad for a boost of protein.
  • Grains: Have you ever added quinoa, brown rice, or farro to your salad? It lends a wonderful “bite” and really adds heartiness to your salad. Choose a fiber-rich whole grain and you will be full for hours!

When it comes to cheese and salad dressing, watch your portions. Toss a little feta or parmesan on top—with strong-flavored cheese, a little goes a long way! Choose an oil-based dressing, or even better, drizzle your salad with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Keep dressing to 1-2 tablespoons so the calories and fat don’t get too high and sabotage your healthy salad.