There are many misconceptions about a healthy lifestyle or living in a healthier way. One of the biggest misconceptions that I find is that of a salad. Most of the time we hear the word “salad” we automatically begin to think of something dreadful like going to the DMV or going to our next dentist appointment. Salads are definitely underappreciated and they don’t need to be a drag. I will point discuss a 5 step program that will empower you and might change your view on a salad.
- Start with selecting your greens. These will be the foundation to your salad and they provide great health benefits some more than others it just depends on which base you choose. My top 3 choices of greens are lettuces, collard greens, and Kale. I also have attached a link to a Joy Bauer’s Leafy Greens blog post as a good reference point in providing the differences between each leafy green.
- The second step is choosing your veggies that will be complementing your greens. If this were a hamburger you were making for yourself on the 4th of July this would be the part where you are deciding whether you want onions, tomatoes, or peppers on your burger. When making your salad this is no different. This is the perfect time to load your salad with bell peppers, sliced carrots, peas, cucumbers, onions, brussel sprouts, and mushrooms. Depending on what your preference is with the vegetable you choose for your salad, you may have to boil them beforehand. I generally wouldn’t recommend having more than 3 complementary veggies added to your salad because you will soon run out of space for the next step.
- The third step is definitely my favorite step in making a salad. This is the step where you select your protein! I’m a big chicken fan but you can always substitute with some eggs, tuna, salmon, pieces of sirloin steak, or other forms of fish. You can always decide to go half and half too. Just beware the chicken and egg combo is a lethal combination that will have you craving for more. If all you have in the form of protein for your salad is processed meat go ahead use it but trust me when I say you are selling yourself short and you will continue to dislike salads as long as you use this as your protein source.
- The next step is what I call the “spice” step because you get to spice up your salad. This step is to add more flavor and dimension to your salad. The spice step is dependent on whether you prefer your salad to have a sweet taste or want a crunch to each bite. If you are a fruit lover this is a great time to add sliced apples, peaches, or pears. Personally, orange slices hit the spot for me. If you prefer that crunch to your salad I highly recommend sliced almonds or any other sliced nut such as walnuts or cashews. If neither of these added flavors seem like your style you can always add some cheddar, Parmesan, or Swiss cheese to the mix either shredded or sliced. The choice is yours!
- The last step is the step that any salad lover uses wisely. This is the point where many folks seem to take the health benefits of a salad away and load it will dressings or vinaigrettes. Personally, I skip this step because I think the dressings don’t add anything valuable to my salad besides calories. If you must add some dressing keep it to a minimum by using less than two tablespoons per serving.
Hopefully, this 5 step program is beneficial in making your next salad experience a bit more enjoyable. What are your favorite ingredients to make a salad? Leave a comment or tweet me at jlara775.