Instead of choosing iceberg lettuce with ranch dressing, why not switch out some ingredients for a salad that will not only taste delicious, but provide you with the nutrients you need to keep your energy levels high? Try these suggestions the next time you make a salad – you can use these at the salad bar too!
- Greens: Choose dark leafy greens such as Swiss chard, kale or spinach. They are good sources of vitamins A and K, contain minerals and phytonutrients, and add a dose of fiber to salad bowl.
- Vegetables: You can’t go wrong adding almost any veggie to your salad bowl, as they are rich in flavonoids and carotenoids and have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Go for a little bit of everything from the color spectrum. Consider yellow bell pepper, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, beets, carrots, avocados and onions for a variety of interesting tastes and textures.
- Protein and Healthy Fat: Add some protein and healthy fat for energy – healthful choices include cooked wild Alaskan salmon, a good source of omega-3 fatty acids; steamed edamame, which provides isoflavones that are protective against cancer; omega-3 enriched hard-boiled eggs; an avocado; or some organic, hard cheese such as Jarlsberg or Parmesan. Kidney and black beans are also excellent protein-rich choices.
- Grains: While not essential, if you like them, add some whole grains to your salad. Brown rice, quinoa and barley are tasty, low-glycemic-load additions.
- Dressing: To minimize additives and unhealthy oils, make your own dressing. A base of extra virgin olive oil, fresh lemon juice, some vinegar and fresh herbs can be dressed up however you want: add some spicy mustard, crushed garlic or red pepper flakes – the choices are unlimited and the result will be tastier and healthier than store-bought dressing.
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