Salads are often thought of as the primary food choice when on a restrictive diet but I see salads as a way to boost your meals with a variety of colors, textures, and fun flavors! It’s frustrating that diet culture gets to claim salads as their own, so I’m here to take back salads as a meal that you can enjoy whenever you’d like! We all deserve to eat veggies in a fun way that we enjoy whenever we want! I’ve heard time and time again from clients that salads are not satisfying and don’t keep them full for very long. Your salad may leave you feeling unsatisfied because it’s lacking balance and zest. When I think of a salad I don’t just think of leafy greens. Salads provide a convenient canvas to enhance your diet with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients, and fiber without having to do any major cooking. There are a variety of ingredients that I like to throw together to make my salads delicious and satisfying.
Here are three steps to make a satisfying salad:
1. Balance: You don’t have to worry about the nitty gritty here, just try to include foods from each category (fat, protein, and carbohydrates).
Carbohydrates are necessary to energize you throughout the day. If you lack one macronutrient, you’ll likely be unsatisfied and may feel hungry sooner than you expected. Make sure you power up your salads with a variety of carbohydrates such as fresh or dried fruit, croutons, beans, or quinoa.
Protein is an essential part of salads that can add a lot of variety in flavor but also texture. I love adding nuts, seeds, hard boiled eggs, grilled or fried chicken, prepackaged tuna, or marinated tofu to my salads.
Fat is the third macronutrient that is vital for any meal I deem satisfying. You can easily add a source of fat to your salad by making a quick vinaigrette with vinegar and olive oil or try a full-fat Greek yogurt based dressing. For extra flavor and a healthy dose of fat, add some delicious toppings such as avocado, cheese, or olives to your salad.
2. Color: Bring on the fiber with fruits and vegetables
Salads are an open canvas for you to boost your diet with a variety of colorful foods. Enhance your salads with a variety of your favorite fruits and vegetables to easily meet your daily nutritional needs but also to help you have a smooth running digestive system. Don’t limit yourself to just the green stuff, broaden your scope and think of all the colors of the rainbow. Fruits and vegetables are a great source of fiber that help keep your blood sugar stable and your digestive system regular.
3. Zest: Top your salads with flair
I like to keep a variety of salad dressings in my fridge to keep my salads interesting. In addition to dressing, I like to think about ways to add more flavor to my salad so it is something that I actually enjoy. Garlic and herb croutons, olives, candied walnuts, feta cheese, etc. These toppings all add zest and flavor that power up salads to the next level!
There you have it! A salad that will keep you full and satisfied until your next meal or snack. This isn’t a hard and fast rule to apply every time you eat a salad. Sometimes you’ll have more time and energy to make a more balanced salad and other times a simple green leaf salad and dressing will satisfy your body’s cravings for greens. The key to optimizing any meal is making sure you don’t skimp out of the stuff you truly enjoy! Croutons, nuts, dressing, and cheese are all great add-ons that bring your salad to life. If you’re looking for some salad recipes, here is a salad I enjoy making in the fall and one of my go-to salads for the summer. I love trying new salad recipes and would love to hear your favorite salad combos. Feel free to share how you enjoy eating your salads in the comment section below!
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