Now that spring time is here, many of will start to veer away from the heavier comfort meals of wintertime and shoot for lighter fare. Bikini season is only a few short months away, so now is the best time to look and feel your best to get ready for summer. To that end, many of us will choose to pack and order more salads, which can be a great idea for losing a few pounds – that is if you know what to put in your salad. Here are a few ideas to consider, as well as some things you might want to avoid, in order to take full advantage of the nutritional benefits of your salad.
Kale: If you are reaching for that iceberg lettuce, you might want to think again. While iceberg lettuce isn’t completely devoid of nutrients, you can do far better. You’ve probably heard of kale before and may have even tried it, but how many of us use it as our salad base. This is a shame because it’s an excellent source of Vitamin K, calcium and more. To temper it down, press an avocado and lemon juice into it.
Olives: Don’t let the high fat content steer you away. Most of that fat is monounsaturated fat, which is heart-healthy. They are a great source of copper, iron, fiber, and Vitamin E. It doesn’t matter which kind of olive you get either as both offer the same benefits. If you are more of a green person, this site has a great deal on green olives.
Chickpeas: Who needs those salty turkey and ham cubes when you can put chickpeas on your salad instead? The truth is we need to put more fiber in our diets as many of us simply fall short. Chickpeas have a ton of fiber and are a good source of protein, manganese and folate. Putting hummus in salad is another way to go if you’re new to chickpeas.
High fat dressings: The easiest way to ruin your salad is to get a high-fat salad dressing. Ranch, blue cheese, and Caesar can have as much fat in them as McDonald’s french fries. Some low fat dressings aren’t that great for you either as many substitute the fat with more sugar. A simple vinaigrette can work, but why not just make your own dressing instead? It’s very easy to do and much cheaper. You can also try using other condiments like salsa and honey mustard.
Croutons: Sure, they seem harmless enough, but those cheesy croutons are just carb-laden extras that you don’t need. If you insist on having something crunchy, why not try going for sunflower seeds or pepitas instead? They have healthy fats in them and are good source of fiber, iron, Vitamin E and more.
You don’t have to sabotage your diet by picking the wrong salad parts. A vibrant salad full of different colored veggies and lean sources of protein can be a very satisfying meal as you get back your health and body for the summer.