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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.

    1. Pick one:

      1. 2-3 cups dark leafy greens, like kale, spinach, arugula, or mustard greens

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

      3. ½-1 cup shredded cabbage; mix with 1-2 cups of other greens

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

    1. Pick one or more:

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

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

      3. 1/2 cup pico de Gallo

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

      5. 2 tablespoons dried fruit

      6. 1/4 avocado

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

    1. Pick one:

      1. 1/2 cup beans or lentils

      2. 3 ounces tofu or tempeh

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

      4. 2 boiled or poached eggs

      5. 1/4 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella or crumbled goat or feta cheese

  4. Go for whole grains

    1. Pick one:

      1. 1/2 cup cooked quinoa or brown rice

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

      3. 1 small corn or whole-wheat tortilla

      4. 1 ounce baked whole grain pita chips or baked tortilla chips

  5. Dressing -- the best part!

    1. 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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