Spring is the perfect time for fresh salads, but I have found with many clients that they get into salad ruts…they get bored! Well do I have some pointers to you to prevent those salad ruts.
Aim for color!
The more colorful your salad, the better. You get more nutrients that way! Toss in some red, yellow, green, and orange bell peppers for their crazy amount of carotenoids—thee are antioxidants that prevent chronic diseases! In addition to several vitamins and minerals, red onions contain quercetin, which is very protective against cancer and allergies, so toss in some red onions. You can add white with jicama; low in calories but high in a few vital nutrients, jicama provides one-quarter of what’s needed daily in fiber per serving. Toss in eggplant or purple cabbage for even more color; both are loaded with fiber and nutrients! Your bed of salad greens will give you fiber, calcium, iron, vitamins A and C among other nutrients.
Switch up your greens!
Speaking of greens, you can totally change a salad by changing the greens. Go for some crunch with some cabbage, a phenomenal cruciferous veggie that is protective against cancer. Kale falls into the cruciferous category too! For a zesty flavor, go for arugula! Spinach and Romaine are popular tasty choices too.
Sprout it up
Sprouts are one amazing way to boost the nutrition of your salad. The nutrients in sprouts are exponentially higher than their non-sprouted counterparts. And there are such a great variety of sprouts available at the typical (alfalfa, clover, sunflower, lentil, etc.).
Power it up with protein!
Experiment with different ways to add protein to your salad. Beans, chickpeas, nuts, and seeds are great plant protein choices. You can add hard-boiled egg or low-fat cheese as well. Or, add some grilled chicken, tuna, or salmon! If you like your red meat, sirloin is a healthy choice too from time to time.
Fruits can add a lot of excitement to a salad. I love strawberries in my salads and they’re high in vitamin C! It’s just about berry season after all—you save when you buy them this time of year! Take advantage!
Dress it up!
A dressing can make or break a salad! There are so many easy ways to make healthy salad dressings. Click here for 50 dressings to try! And remember, a little dressing goes a long way!
I hope I have motivated you to stay satisfied with salads! How many different salads can you have this week?
~By Kelly Springer, RD, MS, CDN