It’s easy to think that because you’ve combined a few ingredients together and called it a salad that you’ve created a low calorie, healthy and nutritious meal. It is – if you have built it correctly. If you’re not fully aware of the nutritional value of what you’re adding to pimp up your salad, you could easily be sabotaging it. The best salads are those that aren’t laden with calorific dressings and high fat proteins but are a joy to your taste buds and also kind to your waistline. Here’s the list of the best 15 ingredients to build a skinny salad.
Table of contents:
- 1. Eggs
- 2. Carrots
- 3. Bell Peppers
- 4. Lettuce
- 5. Tomatoes
- 6. Beans
- 7. Cauliflower/Broccoli
- 8. Dried Cranberries
- 9. Avocado
- 10. Nuts
- 11. Mushrooms
- 12. Cheese
- 13. Lean Protein
- 14. Dressing
- 15. Omissions
Eggs are an excellent source of protein. They are also excellent value. In a salad a good portion is half a hard-boiled egg – and this goes a long way.
This is always one of my top ingredients. They instantly add a pop of color, especially to a salad based on green leaves. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, an important antioxidant. In terms of portion size, ¼ cup of shredded carrot is perfect.
3 Bell Peppers
Another vegetable that is fabulous in skinny salads. They are crispy and crunchy and sweet. Their bright colors indicate that they are bursting with vitamins – in this case, C and A. The best thing of all, just one raw bell pepper delivers your daily requirements for both these vital vitamins. A good amount to have in a salad in a ¼ cup.
There are so many types of lettuce leaves it can be somewhat bewildering. The easy thing to remember is that there are more nutrients the darker the leaf is. By all means add some iceberg for crunch but don’t rely on it for any nutritional value. Romaine and baby spinach are ideal. 1 cup is a perfect serving.
These babies are a seriously power packed salad ingredient. That stunning red color indicates that are packed with super duper lycopene which has tons of health benefits. There is also a more than useful amount of vitamins A and C. Don’t leave tomatoes off your salad – 1/3 cup should do it.
Pick your bean and run with it. Black beans, kidney beans, or garbanzo beans (chickpeas) are top trumps. All of them are packed with protein, fiber and folate. 1/3 cup should do it.
I dunno about you but I can’t eat these raw. I always have to increase other ingredients to make up for not including these cruciferous veggies. Both contain phytochemicals, vitamin C, and fiber, so if you like them raw, tip 1/3 cup into your salad and enjoy their benefits.
8 Dried Cranberries
Need a burst of sweet tartness? Enter dried cranberries. As well as providing this pop of flavor and color, they contain plenty vitamin C and are widely assumed to protect against infections of the urinary tract. How much to include in your salad? 2 tablespoons.
Avocado is a terrific source of healthy fats and you need healthy fats (monounsaturated) to keep your salad balanced. Avos are cholesterol free but are high in calories so no pigging out on them. ¼ cup is plenty sufficient.
Like avocado, use nuts in your salad sparingly. A small amount is ok though because in just one tablespoon serving, you’ll get a major whammy of protein, minerals and fiber and healthy fats.
Mushrooms are another of the great ingredients for a skinny salad if you can eat them raw. (Actually, I love sliced tinned mushrooms tossed in a low cal Italian dressing). Put a ¼ cup of these fun guys (ha ha) in your salad and you’ll be dishing up a boost to your immune system thanks to the folate and selenium mushrooms contain.
Cheese is something that a little of goes a long way. Skinny salad or not, you need your salad to be filling and wholesome. This means balancing out all the good stuff with the not so good stuff. But you must have protein. Cheese will provide you that as well as some much needed calcium. A ¼ cup of a low fat cheese is a good choice.
13 Lean Protein
As well as being lean, you should opt for a low fat source of protein. This might mean a lean chicken breast or some tofu. Weigh it out, don’t guess – you’re aiming for 3oz.
It must be low-fat and low calorie. And if you toss it well and make sure everything is well coated, you still only need 2 tablespoons
So that was what you can include. What are the no-go ingredients for a skinny salad? In no particular order croutons, bacon bits, deli meats, creamy salad dressings (such as mayo or ranch), fatty cheese, blue cheese and store bought salads such as coleslaw or potato salad.
Will you believe me when I say you can eat all of this and still only intake350-400 calories, based on the measurements given? How cool is that? Are you ready to fill up but not out?
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