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  • Writer's pictureTracey Sinibaldi

Salad Building 101

Salads are probably the first thing you think of when you hear "eat healthier". The tricky thing about them is that they can easily become unhealthy due to portion size, toppings, and dressings. If you build a salad the "right" way, you can have a filling, nutritious meal that satisfies your cravings for something flavorful, cold, and crunchy.

The Perfect Salad

  1. Start with a leafy base Forgo light-colored lettuce, like iceberg. Instead, fill your bowl with rich-colored greens or cabbage for bonus nutrition and flavor.

  2. Pick one:

  3. 2-3 cups dark leafy greens, like kale, spinach, arugula, or mustard greens

  4. 2-3 cups mixed greens, like mesclun or herb salad mix

  5. ½-1 cup shredded cabbage; mix with 1-2 cups of other greens

  6. Add color with produce When it’s time to add toppings, load up on colors fruits, and veggies.

  7. Pick one or more:

  8. 1 cup seasonal non-starchy veggies, like broccoli, bell peppers, mushrooms, carrots, tomato, or cucumber

  9. 1/2 cup seasonal fruit, like berries, grapes, oranges, pears, or peaches

  10. 1/2 cup pico de Gallo

  11. 1/4 cup high-flavor vegetables, like kimchi, pickled vegetables, olives, or onions

  12. 2 tablespoons dried fruit

  13. 1/4 avocado

  14. Don't skip the protein Most plant-based proteins combine fiber and protein which will leave you feeling satisfied longer.

  15. Pick one:

  16. 1/2 cup beans or lentils

  17. 3 ounces tofu or tempeh

  18. 2 to 3 ounces grilled wild salmon, tuna, or chicken breast

  19. 2 boiled or poached eggs

  20. 1/4 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella or crumbled goat or feta cheese

  21. Go for whole grains

  22. Pick one:

  23. 1/2 cup cooked quinoa or brown rice

  24. 1 whole grain bread roll or 1/2 whole grain pita

  25. 1 small corn or whole-wheat tortilla

  26. 1 ounce baked whole grain pita chips or baked tortilla chips

  27. Dressing -- the best part!

  28. Although vinaigrettes are, in relative terms, the "healthiest", eating should still feel enjoyable. Choose whatever dressing you like...just remember, everything in moderation!

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