Healthy Salad Ideas
10 Simple Ways to Spruce Up Your
By Jude Buglewicz
From the Million Dollar Body Club - Join Today and Workout to
Summer means sun,
sand, and . . . salads. Besides being great for your figure, eating lots of
nutrient-rich vegetables is an excellent way to maintain your health. To keep
you filling up the big bowls all season long, we've provided lists of delicious
ingredients for you to choose from to add flavor, variety, and a heap of health
benefits. So eat up and enjoy!
Remember, dark green, leafy lettuces
and red and orange fruits and vegetables provide key nutrients and more
disease-fighting antioxidants than paler varieties. Lower-fat cheeses and
yogurt provide protein and calcium without the fat. And fatty fish like salmon,
sardines, and herring, as well as flaxseeds, walnuts, soybeans, and tofu are
great sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which help reduce inflammation, regulate
metabolism and blood sugar, and keep your arteries clear. Finally, fruits,
veggies, and legumes are excellent sources of dietary fiber, which is
beneficial for maintaining normal blood sugar and cholesterol levels, promoting
a feeling of fullness after eating, and keeping you regular!
- Greens. Arugula,
Boston and Bibb lettuce, endive, mustard greens, radicchio, romaine, spinach,
Unfortunately, most Americans
choose iceberg lettuce, the least nutritious of the green leafy veggies.
Romaine and watercress, though, have almost eight times more beta-carotene and
twice the potassium. Mesclun is also a good salad choice. It's a mixture of
baby greens such as baby spinach, radicchio, arugula, and mache. If you opt for
the convenient prepackaged bags of salad greens, it's a good idea to rinse the
leaves before eating, as even some "thrice-washed" varieties have been known to
harbor harmful bacteria.
- Herbs (fresh).
Basil, chervil, chives, cilantro, dill, marjoram, mint, parsley, oregano,
Prepare fresh herbs for eating by
thoroughly rinsing off dirt and grit under running water, then pat dry with
paper towels. Chop herbs coarsely, removing any hard stems. Remember to buy
fresh herbs in small quantities and refrigerate or freeze any leftovers in
plastic bags or airtight containers.
- Fruits. Apples, currants, dried cranberries,
grapefruit, kiwis, mandarin oranges, mango, papaya, peaches, pineapple,
raisins, raspberries, seedless grapes, strawberries
You can prepare fruit salads
without veggies, or add any of the fruits listed to your green salad to boost
the nutrient and antioxidant levels and supply more zest and flavor.
- Veggies. Alfalfa
or bean sprouts, asparagus, avocado, beets, bell peppers (red, orange, yellow),
broccoli, carrots, celery, corn, cucumbers, fennel, jalapeños, jicama,
peas (frozen or fresh), radishes, mushrooms, scallions, vine-ripened tomatoes,
Packing salads with fruits and
veggies ensures you're on your way to getting those five recommended daily
servings. Opt for mixing different colored veggies to get more phytochemical
- Legumes. Black
beans, garbanzo beans, green beans, lentils, pinto beans, snow peas, white
Typically neglected in Western
diets, legumes are popular traditional dishes in the rest of the world. They
provide protein (without the saturated fat found in animal protein), and
essential vitamins and minerals. Low on the glycemic index scale, they also
improve blood glucose levels and give you the sensation of feeling full, so
you'll eat less (and lose weight!).
- Cheeses. Blue,
cottage cheese (low-fat), feta (reduced fat), goat, parmesan, ricotta
Crumble a little feta or blue
cheese over your salador add my personal favorite, nonfat cottage
cheeseto increase the calcium and protein content of your meal and help
fulfill your recommended three to four daily servings of dairy products.
- Fish. Anchovies,
herring, salmon, sardines, tuna
Omega-3 fatty acids! It's
recommended you eat some kind of oily, cold-water fish at least twice a week,
and that you include foods rich in alpha-linolenic acid as well (e.g., tofu,
walnuts, and flaxseed), as they become omega-3 fatty acids in the body.
Omega-3s are heart-healthy and are believed to be important for healthy brain
- Other proteins.
Boiled eggs, broiled tofu cubes, edamame (whole, unprocessed soybean), strips
of lean ham, pork, chicken, or turkey
You want to be sure
to get enough protein when you're working out and building lean muscle, but you
also want to avoid the saturated fat and cholesterol in animal proteins. So,
for salads, either choose lean meats or proteins from plant sources, such as
tofu or edamame. Adding a couple slices of a boiled egg is also a low-calorie,
high-protein way to ramp up the vitamin and mineral content of your
seeds. Almonds, flaxseeds, pecans, pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame
seeds, soy nuts, sunflower seeds, walnuts
Yeah, yeah, seeds and nuts are
high in fat, but it's unsaturated fat (the best kind). They're also good
sources of dietary fiber and minerals. Sprinkling a few in your salad will add
a nice crunchy texturemuch better for you than fattening
Balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, extra-virgin olive oil, hummus, lemon juice,
lime juice, nonfat or low-fat yogurt, soy sauce
Combine a little lemon or lime
juice with herbs and extra-virgin olive oil for a healthy and zesty salad
dressing, or blend a little yogurt and herbs with a tablespoon of olive oil for
a creamier, more flavorful texture. Honey blended with Dijon mustard and yogurt
is also delicious. Just stay away from those high-calorie, high-fat
store-bought bottled dressings!