A salad can quickly become a diet bomb if you pile it with the wrong ingredients. Sadly, most salad bar restaurants make it hard to be virtuous with their piles of pepperoni, full-fat cheese and other stuff that tastes so good that it’s hard to pass it up. Don’t worry. You can still enjoy a flavorful salad if you put these items on your plate. It still tastes great and I promise that you’ll be totally satisfied when mealtime is over.
1 Start with a Base of Fiber-Rich Veggies
Fiber is your best friend when it comes to feeling full on very few calories. Veggies are a great source of fiber and will help you feel full without destroying your health goals. Start with a pile of such veggies to build the best salad possible. Good choices include spinach, cucumbers, mushrooms, zucchini, carrots and radishes. Peas, green beans and broccoli are other tasty options.
2 Add Some Protein, but Not Too Much
No meal is complete without some protein in it, but many of your options can quickly turn an otherwise healthy salad into a no-no. Choose lean chicken breast, salmon, grilled shrimp or tofu. A palm-sized amount is all you need. If you don’t eat meat, try beans, hard-boiled eggs or a sprinkling of nuts instead. Experts say not to count on cheese as your main source of protein as it is higher in calories than other choices.
3 Try Something Spicy to Make Things Interesting
Spicy foods make a meal more exciting and can sometimes help you feel satisfied so you put your fork down before you overdo it. The spiciness also makes it feel like you ate something memorable rather than the same old plate of lettuce and tomato. Try sliced red onions, roasted garlic or wasabi peas.
4 Add Some Flavor with Healthy Toppings
Not a fan of spicy? You can get the same effect with ingredients that have an intense flavor. They’ll keep you from hating your meal and will make you want to eat another bite instead of reaching for something fatty and full of calories. Experts suggest pickles, beets, mandarin oranges, blueberries or a small handful of nuts.
5 You Need Some Healthy Fats
You don’t have to shy away from fat altogether. You need some of it to maintain a healthy body and give you energy. The trick is to choose the right kinds of fats – that is unsaturated fats or omega-3 fatty acids. You can combine your healthy fat choices with your flavor or protein choices. For example, salmon covers protein and healthy fats. Sunflower seeds and avocado are perfect choices as well.
6 Go Easy on the Dressing or You’ll Be Sorry
Dressing is like the icing on the cake. It adds a touch of taste to the salad, but it can be pretty fatty and calorie-laden so you want to stick with just a tablespoon or so. In general, homemade dressings are better than bottled because you have more control over the ingredients. A drizzle of vinegar and olive oil is another delicious idea.
7 Top Things off with Spices or Herbs
Who says you can’t put spices and herbs in a salad? In fact, this idea adds even more satisfaction when you enjoy your salad. My favorite is to add some dill to my salad. Yum! You can also sprinkle it with lemon pepper or garlic salt. You can also try torn basil leaves or oregano with tomatoes and mozzarella.
Are you excited for your next salad now? Which of these ideas are you going to try?
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