When it comes to eating healthy, salads always make the list—for good reason. By nature, salads are rich in various nutrients and minerals because of their leafy green base, and plus, it’s topped with a variety of vegetables. There are many things you can add to your salad that can make it a wonderful nutritional and yummy choice. Then there are those choices that you can add to your salad that will make it have more fat and calories than a hamburger. Believe it or not there are healthy ways to dress up a salad.
Healthy Ways to Dress Up a Salad
Salads can be the best thing we can do when making healthy eating choices. At the same time, this simple meal makes it easy to feel your healthy diet is in a rut. When making salads, many people stick with just lettuce and top it off with salad dressing—no wonder why many feel like they’re just eating rabbit food. And depending on the type of salad dressing, the condiment could make or break the meal’s nutritional value. Here are some ideas that can break you out of the healthy salad rut without sacrificing your diet.
Understand What’s in Your Salad Dressing
Oftentimes, people think that salad dressings are the only way to dress up a salad. After all, the word “dressing” is in the condiment’s name. However, while you’re more than willing to douse your favorite salad dressing all over your salad to add flavor, the condiments may do more harm than help in terms of your health. At the same time, no need to fret about staying away from favorite sauces like ranch. All you need to know is what to look for when selecting a salad dressing that won’t take away from salad’s healthy nature. When I’m looking for healthy ways to dress up a salad the choice I make in salad dressings is what determines if this is a healthy meal for me or not.
Salad dressing is often the go-to for dressing up a salad, but a salad dressing that’s high in sugars and calories can turn your salad into an unhealthy meal. But knowing what to look for in a salad dressing as well as selecting vegetables and other ingredients that complement a lettuce base, you can have your cake and eat it too—well, in terms of eating healthy without sacrificing flavor and satiety.
Avoid fat-free: You may think that fat-free salad dressing will help flavor your salad without the extra calories, but fat-free dressings can do more harm than help. A dressing that’s fat-free means that it’s highly processed with added ingredients—while there’s a reduction in calories, a fat free salad dressing won’t be able to help you feel full longer compared to a salad dressing that has healthy fat, which helps you absorb fat soluble vitamins and helps to slow your digestion process. Olive oil is found in many salad dressings and is a healthy fat, helping you to improve the health of your heart.
Avoid saturated fat: Your favorite cream-based salad dressing sure packs flavor, but sometimes are high in saturated fats. Many creamy salad dressings have 1.5 to 3 grams of saturated fat per serving. No need to avoid it completely—just eat it sparingly. In the meantime, try vinaigrette-based salad dressings, such as Italian salad dressing, where the grams of saturated fat are often less than 1 gram per serving. Just Italian dressing from hamptoncreek, for example, has 0.5 grams of saturated fat per serving. In addition, the line of Hampton Creek salad dressings are gluten-free and dairy free.
Avoid additives: Sometimes chemicals and other types of modified ingredients are added to food for flavor or preservation. But these additives can do more harm to your health in the long run. Sometimes these additives can trigger allergic reactions and cause side effects like increased belly fat or insulin resistance. That’s why it’s important to look at the nutrition labels. Salad dressing should list oil, water and vinegar as the first three ingredients are. This combination is a good base for a healthy salad dressing.
Fill up With Fiber and Lean Protein
A healthy salad doesn’t always need to be topped with vegetables. Topping off a salad with fiber and lean protein help you feel full without the extra calories. For example, chicken Caesar salad is a great combination of protein—skinless chicken breast—with a creamy salad dressing that has just the right amount of fat to keep your hunger at bay.
Use Other Greens as Your Salad Base
Lettuce isn’t the only green to use for a salad. Try other greens like artichokes, edamame, and asparagus—these vegetables are rich in antioxidants. Edamame has protein and fiber, which are both nutrients that keep your feeling satisfied and full.
Salads are the ultimate healthy meal, but you don’t have to limit your taste buds or make sacrifices. There are so many healthy ways to dress up a salad and amp up the flavor in a way that is good for you. Keep everything you love about salads while still keeping their nutritional value.
Are you like me and often put more unhealthy things in your salad? I’m one to see more dressing than salad on my plate 🙂 What are ways you make a nice salad that tastes yummy and is still packed full of nutrients?