You're on a diet. You told yourself you'd be good and being good means one thing: salad.
However, after days or weeks of salads you find yourself in one of two places: You've either gained more weight or haven't lost anything. Why? Maybe the salad is the problem. Here are 10 ways to fix your salad so it's truly a balanced and satisfying meal:
1. Cut back on the dressing.
Whether bottled or homemade, salad dressing can be loaded with calories and fat from the oil. Since most of us don't measure how much we're using, you're more than likely going over the recommended serving size. Try measuring 1 tbsp of salad dressing for your salad, toss and then add fresh lemon juice. You'll get all the flavor with less of the bad stuff, plus, vitamin C.
2. Skip the croutons.
Croutons are crunchy and delicious, but at the end of the day, they're just deep-fried bread (at least the ones in the bag). If you like the texture, consider other ways to add crunch to your salad, like sunflower seeds, which also provide healthy fats.
3. Choose darker greens.
Iceberg lettuce is crisp and filing, thanks to all the water, but it's lacking in nutrition. Replace half or all of it with darker greens like arugula or baby spinach to add bulk along with nutrients like calcium, which supports bone and dental health.
4. Add protein.
The body needs protein in order to develop and repair lean muscle mass. Protein also helps fill you up and boosts energy. Great sources of protein for a salad are grilled chicken, lean, grass-fed beef, baked tofu and salmon. You could even go for some hard boiled egg.
5. Use more fruit.
Fruits bring great flavor and nutritional value to your salad. Sliced apples provide fiber while orange segments give you vitamin C. Berries are also packed with anthocyanins, a type of antioxidant that gives berries like blueberries their deep color. Antioxidants protect the body against free radicals. Fresh is best, but if you're going to go with dried, read the ingredients carefully as many dried fruits contain added sugar, flavorings or oils.
6. Don't skip the onion.
They may have a strong taste and smell, but onions should be in your salad for one reason: sulfur. Sulfur supports the tissues, muscles and joints of the body for easier movement and less pain and stiffness. Soaking sliced onions in ice water before using can help take the edge off, or you could try pickling them.
7. Try some whole grains.
Another easy way to bulk up your salad and make it more filling is by tossing in some whole grains like cooked quinoa or brown rice. Hot or cold, these whole grains contain fiber which will keep you feeling satiated while also keeping the digestive system on track. Fiber also supports heart health.
8. Swap out the cheese.
Cheese can add wonderful flavor to a salad, but also fat. Dairy can also make you bloated. If you want that cheesy flavor still, try sprinkling some brewer's yeast (also known as nutritional yeast) on your salad instead. This yeast is rich in B vitamins, which support energy production and the function of the central nervous system. If you really need the cheese, use one with a bolder flavor so you can use less.
9. Go for better fats.
Including the right fats in your diet is important. These fats, like omega-3, omega-6 and omega-9, benefit heart and cognitive function as well as the skin. Instead of using a creamy dressing, slice some fresh avocado on top of your salad or sprinkle a handful of nuts on it.
10. Shop the rainbow.
Shop the rainbow when stocking up on produce for your salad creations. Try and get all the colors in one bowl for an array of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. As previously mentioned, these antioxidants provide fruits and vegetables with their unique hues.
What are you having for lunch? We're going to have a salad. Get all the groceries and supplements you need to live a healthy life at eVitamins. See you tomorrow!