Instead of choosing iceberg lettuce with a ranch dressing, why not switch out some ingredients for a salad that will not only taste delicious, but provide you with the nutrients you need to keep your energy levels high? Try these suggestions the next time you make a salad - you can use these at the salad bar too!
- Greens: Choose dark leafy greens such as Swiss chard, kale or spinach. They are good sources of vitamins A and K, contain minerals and phytonutrients, and add a dose of fiber to salad bowl.
- Vegetables: You can’t go wrong adding almost any veggie to your salad bowl, as they are a rich in flavonoids and carotenoids and have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Instead of limiting yourself, expand your veggie additions and go for a little bit of everything from the color spectrum. Consider yellow bell pepper, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, beets, carrots, avocados and onions for a variety of interesting tastes and textures.
- Protein: Add some protein for energy – healthful choices include cooked wild Alaskan salmon, a good source of omega-3 fatty acids; steamed edamame, which provides isoflavones that are protective against cancer; omega-3 enriched hard-boiled eggs; or some organic, hard cheese such as Jarlsberg or Parmesan. Kidney and black beans are also excellent choices, and offer added fiber in addition to protein.
- Grains: To help promote healthy digestion and reduce the spikes in blood sugar that promote inflammation, add some whole grains to your salad. Brown rice, quinoa and barley are tasty additions to salads.
- Dressing: To minimize additives and unhealthy oils, make your own dressing. A base of extra virgin olive oil, fresh lemon juice, some vinegar and fresh herbs can be dressed up however you want: add some spicy mustard, crushed garlic, red pepper flakes – the choices are unlimited and the result will be tastier and healthier than store-bought dressing.
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