Building A Healthier Salad

1. Pile On The Greens.

Choose one of the following or combine a mixture of your favorites:

Kale (cooked or raw)

Mixed Baby Greens

Beet Leaves


Romaine Lettuce

2. Add 1-2 Cups Of Your Favorite Veggies.

Grated Carrot

Chopped Tomatoes*

Chopped Cucumbers

Grated Zucchini

Sweet Bell Peppers*


Snap Peas*

Etc., etc., etc.

Note: For vegetarians and vegans, be sure to add one or more of the Vitamin C rich vegetables to help your body absorb the iron from your salad!  Any of the above with an asterisk have ample supplies of this vitamin.

3. Add Protein.

1/2 cup kidney, black or garbanzo beans

1/2 cup cooked lentils

3-4 oz. skinless chicken breast, diced

3-4 oz. cooked salmon

3-oz. cooked tofu or tempeh

8-oz soymilk on the side

4. Add A Little Pizzazz.

2 Tbsp. Feta Cheese

5-8 Black Olives

2 Tbsp. Sunflower Seeds

2 Tbsp. Craisins

2 Tbsp. Tomato Salsa

1/4 Avocado, Sliced

1/2 Cup Strawberries, Sliced

Add 1-2 of your favorite toppings to take your salad from “yum” to “YUM.”

5. Add Some Fat.

Choose One Of The Following:

2 Tbsp. of your favorite dressing

1-2 tsp. olive oil with vinegar and a sprinkle of sea salt (my favorite!)

2 Tbsp. any nut/seed (walnuts, slivered almonds, etc.)

1/4 Avocado

10 Olives

Note: Although fat-free dressings sound oh so virtuous, your body needs some fat to absorb the salad’s nutrient stars.  Olive or canola oil based dressing are obviously your best choice for dressings.  But if you can’t give up your favorite creamy dressings, keep the portion to 2 Tbsp.  The other choices are also great options if you want to use a fat-free dressing while still including some fat.

6. Last But Not Least: Don’t Forget The Carbohydrates!

1 Slice of Whole Wheat Bread, Whole Wheat Tortilla Wrap, etc.

3/4 Cup Cooked Grain (Quinoa, Brown Rice, etc.)

1 Serving of Whole Grain Corn Tortillas

1 Serving of Whole Grain Crackers (Kashi, Low-Sodium Wheat Thins, Triscuits, etc.)

Note: Don’t skimp on carbs!  If you’ve ever felt starving 1-2 hours after your salad, it’s most likely either because (a) you didn’t have enough protein, (b) you forgot to include a healthy fat or (c) you forwent the carbohydrates.  You might feel as if you’re saving calories, but you’ll be a starvin’ marvin’ later in the day which may make you overcompensate after dinner.

QUESTION: What is your favorite salad combination?


4 thoughts on “Building A Healthier Salad

    • Quinoa is one of those lovely grains that sort of counts as both. But in this case, I would count it as the carbohydrate and still include some tofu or beans for an extra protein boost. 😀

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