Add a Daily Salad to Your Diet

2 02 2011

Salads can be boring, I know. I definitely go through phases where the thought of eating another salad makes me want to puke. The thing is, there are THOUSANDS of different salads you can make. If eating that same old stupid salad you have eaten every day for the past two months sounds awful, you just need to switch it up.

I try and aim for one salad everyday. Typically, I make one for lunch. It’s a great way to get lots of veggies, and as long as you avoid tons of cheese and dressing loaded with fat, you’ll feel super energized and great for the rest of the day. And you shouldn’t worry about not feeling full when you eat a salad, there are plenty of ways to make it healthy and filling.

Lizzy's salad

My salad for lunch

To ensure that you avoid the late afternoon stomach rumblings, add a sliced chicken breast, some turkey, steamed tofu, or a hard-boiled egg to your salad. Or skip the dressing and use a few tablespoons of hummus instead. The trick is to add enough protein to the salad, because this will keep you full for longer.

As a general rule, if I am going to use dressing on the salad, I will use very little or no cheese at all. In place of salad dressing, I typically use vinegar. Some people think it’s too strong, but I love it, and you avoid the calories and high-fat content of dressing. I like red wine and balsamic vinegar. You can also drizzle a little olive oil on top if you like. (We don’t need to avoid fat completely, olive oil is a healthy fat that is fine in small amounts). If I do use dressing, I make sure it isn’t cream based (NOT ranch) and something light–like a lime vinaigrette or light Italian.

I like to add half a pita on the side. Sometimes I’ll replace the pita with Reduced Fat Wheat Thins and hummus. Or, you can even toss some toasted whole-wheat pita right into the salad.

Here are some topping ideas to get you started:

Raspberry Almond Salad

Mix together lettuce, fresh raspberries, orange slices, slivered almonds, dried cranberries, and raspberry vinaigrette.

Avocado Tomato Salad

Mix together lettuce, avocado (again, a healthy fat. Don’t be scared of avocado!), tomatoes, shredded carrots, onion, and shredded mozzarella cheese. Toss in light honey mustard dressing.

Greek Salad

Mix together lettuce, cucumber, tomato, red onion, reduced fat feta cheese, and red wine vinegar with a drizzle of olive oil.

Asian Salad

Mix together lettuce, mushrooms, broccoli, peas, meatless chicken nuggets (I chop them up into the salad), and an Asian vinaigrette.

These are some basic ideas. You can add or subtract whatever ingredients you want. Change it up, be creative, and figure out what you like. I’m a vegetarian, so I add fake meat or hummus to things. Add some chicken or turkey if that’s your thing. Check out one of my favorite blogs, No Meat Athlete, and look at their recipe page. There are tons of awesome salad ideas. Just try eating a salad every day for one week, you won’t regret it! Salads are a great, easy way to stay healthy and slim, and you should definitely include them in your diet.

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2 responses

5 02 2011
katieamccarthy

I have a question for you, is it better to eat a unhealthy salad, lets say a cobb…or have a bacon cheeseburger with french fries?

5 02 2011
funfitfearless

Thanks for the question, Kathryn. So, in my opinion, sometimes the burger may actually be a better decision. If you have been craving a burger for a while, you don’t want to deprive yourself and then go crazy later on. But if you want a burger–avoid the bacon and cheese. Or if you’re really craving french fries, portion out just a few–like ten. Moderation is key. You’re right, though, many salads can be even worse than a small burger. Chances are the salad isn’t going to fulfill any craving, so loading up on bacon and ranch dressing isn’t the best investment.

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