Are you the type of person that truly believes salads can’t be a meal? Do you think they won’t fill you up or keep you full until your next meal/snack? I’m not going to lie. I thought the same thing, until I realized I was building my salads all wrong. Too little greens, not enough protein, too much dressing. Of course it wouldn’t last until my next meal.
But I’ve come to realize that salads are probably the best, healthy meal you could eat every day. They can be customizable, they require not much prep work and they can fill you up (if you build them the right way). Follow these easy steps to create your daily salad to keep you full, healthy and gorgeous.
- Dark Leafy Greens: Make sure your greens are dark. They provide more nutrients than plain old iceberg lettuce. Choose greens such as spinach, kale, Swiss chard, baby kale, Bok Choy. I also like to pick up a big bag of dark, leafy greens (like Fresh and Easy’s European Mix) to keep me stocked the entire week.
- Veggies: you can add whatever veggies satisfies your taste buds. Whether it is mushrooms, broccoli, carrots, jicama, beets, olives, corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, cabbage, banana peppers, jalapenos…if they’re a vegetable, they’re free to add. They provide enough fiber to keep you full, not to mention water to keep you hydrated.
- Protein: make sure to include some type of protein in your salad. This will help fill you up and keep you satisfied until your next meal. If you’re a meat eater, go ahead and add 4 ounces grilled chicken, sirloin, egg, tuna, or shrimp. Non-meat eaters, choose 1/4-cup of any type of bean; chickpea, pinto, black, kidney. Any of these will meet your protein needs.
- Nuts/seeds: I like to add sunflower or pumpkin seeds to my salad to replace the crunchiness of croutons. You can also add walnuts, cashews, pecans or almonds which will also add a healthy dose of heart-healthy omega-3’s.
- Dressing: Choose oil-vinegar blends over creamy dressings to reduce unhealthy fats. I like balsamic vinaigrettes, Italian or sesame dressing. You can also make your own to cut down on the sodium. Just whisk together 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar,¼ cup olive oil, a tsp of honey, Italian herbs, and minced garlic. Salsas, hummus, and yogurt-based sauces like tzatziki are great alternatives as well.
- Additional toppings: You can also add some goat, feta, mozzarella, or cheddar cheese, depending on the type of salad you are making. Or tortilla chips and avocado if you’re making a southwest salad.
Your options are endless. So please, don’t give up on salads!
Beet & Cranberry Salad
2 oz Fresh and Easy’s European Mix
2 Tbsp jicama stick, sliced thinly
2 Tbsp Baby bella mushrooms, sliced
2 Tbsp kidney beans
¼ cup beets, sliced
1 Tbsp dried cranberries
2 Tsp sunflower seeds (out of shell)
2 Tbsp balsamic vinaigrette
- Place all ingredients in bowl and toss to combine.