The Proper Way To EAT A Salad
When it comes to EATing healthy, for some reason salads always seem to be the first thing to pop into peoples’ minds. We assume a bowl full of greens and some veggies is always a better choice than a plate full of food. But, that’s not always the case.
A salad that isn’t adequately balanced and put together with little thought can actually add up to a huge excess of calories, very little protein and way too much fat. Below are some tips on ensuring your salad is providing a plethora of micronutrients for health and adequate macronutrients to keep you full and fueled for hours.
- Start with dark leafy greens. Iceberg lettuce is merely crispy water when it comes to its’ nutritional value. Opt instead for spinach, kale, or a mixture of spring greens.
- Add 3 different colors of vegetables. This is an easy rule to follow to make sure your salad keeps you EATing the rainbow and is giving you valuable vitamins and minerals.
- Add protein! Protein is the building block of life and should be incorporated in every meal. It not only helps you build connective tissue and muscle, but it’s thermogenic effect will keep you burning for hours. Protein also helps keep you full and maintains a more stable blood sugar. (Hint: when eating out, ALWAYS double the protein! Restaurants skimp on the protein because it is more costly than greens but these salads will leave you hungry within an hour or so.)
- Add 1 or 2 healthy fats. Some ideas include avocado, nuts, seeds or whole milk cheese.
- Put dressing on the side. This is especially important if you are eating out! Most restaurant dressing have added sugars and are typically made with less than ideal oils. If making a salad at home, always keep it simple with extra-virgin olive oil and vinegar.
A salad loaded with fruits, a ton of nuts and too much dressing can actually add up to far more calories than other healthy options. While calories are only one measurement used in healthy EATing, it is important to not let too many add up in a meal that leaves you hungry an hour later.
Another important note to make about salads is they are not the only way to EAT healthy! If you are a hearty eater, turning to salads when cleaning up your diet can actually leave you feeling dissatisfied and deprived. I personally fall into this category. I am more satisfied EATing a plate of lean protein and grilled or roasted vegetables than a salad. So, if you are a hearty eater, crave things like burger, grilled meats and fat, skip the salad and go for roasted veggies along side your meat.
Learning to EAT for your essence is the surest way to get you on a healthy track and keep yourself there for life!
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