8 Ways To Make A Super Salad
Here, from the Cleveland Clinic, some smart advice on creating healthy salads you’ll actually want to eat, plus a listing of the vitamins you’ll get with every forkful!
1. Start off strong
Lettuces: The darker and redder, the better – think romaine and leaf lettuces (Vitamin C, folic acid, potassium)
Greens: Jazz things up with spring mix, kale mix, baby greens or arugula (beta – carotene, antioxidants)
Note: Steer clear of iceberg and other pale lettuces. Their high water content means fewer nutrients.
2. Add some crunch
Celery (Vitamin A)
Cucumber (Vitamin C)
Purple Cabbage (Vitamins A and C, iron)
Pea Pods (Vitamins A and C, iron)
Broccoli Florets (Vitamin C)
Alfalfa Sprouts (antioxidants)
Sunflower or Chia Seeds (fiber, protein)
Walnuts or Almonds (fiber, protein, niacin)
Edamame (Vitamin C, iron)
Note: Avoid croutons, tortilla strips, wonton strips and chow mein noodles. They’re high in fat and sodium, low in nutrients.
3. Give It Color
Red, Orange, Yellow or Green Pepper (Vitamins B1, B2 and B6, folate)
Red Onions (fiber, phytochemicals)
(Vitamins A, C and E, fiber, potassium, calcium, antioxidants)
Tomatoes (fiber, vitamins A, C and K, potassium, manganese)
Avocado Slices (over 20 vitamins and minerals; heart-healthy fat)
Note: Add no more than two tablespoons of corn or peas to each salad serviing. They’re like bread – high in starch.
4. Punch Up The Protein
Black Beans, Garbanzo Beans or Lentils, Rinsed (Fiber)
Chicken or Lean Beef
Salmon or Water-Packed Tuna (omega-3 fatty acids)
Low-Fat Feta Cheese, Blue Cheese, Goat Cheese, Parmesan or Mozzarella (calcium, Vitamin D)
Tofu (heart-healthy fat, potassium)
Note: Full-fat cheeses are high in saturated fat. Trying pairing small amounts of your favorite cheese with other proteins.
5. Freshen With Fruit
Apple or Pear Slices (Vitamin C, flavonoids)
Strawberries, Raspberries, Blueberries, Blackberries
(Vitamin C, Fiber, Flavonoids)
Note: Dried cranberries, blueberries, cherries, dates and raisins are higher in sugar than fresh fruit. A little goes a long way!
6. Fold In Leftovers
(Vitamins C, A and B6, folate)
(Vitamins A, E and K, folate)
(Vitamins A and C, manganese)
Note: White potatoes are high in starch; add sliced sweet potatoes instead (they’re delicious raw – crunchy like carrots).
7. Consult the Cupboard
Black or Greek Olives
(Vitamin E, healthy fat)
(fiber, Vitamin C, folic acid)
Hearts of Palm
Note: Remember to factor the amount of salt, often high in canned goods, into your daily sodium intake.
8. Dress It Well
(Vitamin C, folate) or
Lime Juice (Vitamin C, Potassium)
Note: Use vinegar and citrus, less oil. Avoid high-calorie, high-fat Ranch, Thousand Island and French dressings.
If you don’t often eat salad, try making one or two a week. Slowly build up to one a day, plus full-meal salads once or twice a week. (Don’t love salad? No worries. Veggies in any form are fine!)
Don’t limit yourself to green salads.
Experiment with hearty salads made of grains, beans, egg, chicken or tuna. (Fruit salads can help you get your two to three daily servings of fruit.)
Laura Jeffers, Med, RD, LD, who developed these recommendations, says, “My favorite salad is blackened salmon with goat or feta cheese, garbanzo beans, Greek olives, beets, tomatoes, carrots and cucumber. I’ll eat any dark green leaf, but spinach is my favorite. (I gave up my iceberg lettuce habit two years ago, and my body is thanking me!)”
Reprinted with permission from health.clevelandclinic.org.