A satisfying salad is a great way to get more fruits and vegetables high in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. A salad using the right ingredients can be a filling meal. With the summer heat kicking in, making a quick, satisfying salad using your favorite ingredients can help cool off, rehydrate, and refuel the body.
Table of Contents
Making A Satisfying Salad
- Start with leafy greens.
- They’re low in calories and a healthy source of fiber.
- Different varieties include iceberg lettuce, leaf lettuce, spinach, escarole, romaine, kale, and butter lettuce.
- The darker greens offer more nutrients.
- Carrots, peppers, green beans, eggplant, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, zucchini, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, or scallions.
- Raw diced or cooked vegetables are a good addition.
- Leftover cooked vegetables will work.
- Brightly colored vegetables have flavonoids rich in antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
- Choose all the colors and add two or three half-cup servings.
Grains – Starch
- Add whole grains or starchy vegetables.
- A serving of cooked:
- Whole grains like brown rice, barley, or quinoa.
- Starchy vegetables like roasted sweet potatoes or cooked butternut squash.
- These provide fiber, complex carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals.
- Fruits or berries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, pomegranate seeds, apple slices, oranges, dates, and raisins can add vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants.
- One-half cup of apple slices has 30 calories.
- One-half cup of berries has about 40 calories.
- A hard-boiled egg is an excellent source of protein.
- A serving of lean beef, cooked shrimp, tuna, chicken breast, cheese strips, beans or legumes, hummus, tofu, or cottage cheese.
- Be mindful of portion size.
- A quarter cup of chopped chicken meat or one egg will add 75 calories.
- Half a can of tuna adds about 80 calories.
- Depending if it is low fat, two ounces of cubed or shredded mozzarella or cheddar cheese can add 200 calories.
Nuts or Seeds
- Almonds, cashews, walnuts, pecans, sunflower, pumpkin, or chia seeds are great for added crunch.
- All nuts add protein and heart-healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids.
- One-eighth cup of nuts adds around 90 calories.
- Walnuts contain omega-3 fatty acids.
- Add salad dressing.
- One tablespoon of regular commercial salad dressing adds 50 to 80 calories.
- Low-fat and reduced-calorie dressings are available.
- Use freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice.
- Make a dressing with avocado, walnut, or extra virgin olive oil.
Low-Carbohydrate Taco Salad
This is an easy recipe. The meat can be prepared ahead or be leftovers from another meal.
- One pound lean ground beef – 85% to 89% lean.
- One tablespoon of chili powder.
- Salt and pepper, to taste.
- Green onions, chopped with white and green parts separated.
- One head of lettuce, chopped.
- One medium tomato, chopped.
- One avocado, diced.
- Optional – one 4-ounce can of sliced olives.
- 1 1/2 cups of grated fat-free cheddar, Monterey Jack cheese, or a combination.
- 1/2 cup fat-free Greek or plain yogurt.
- 1/2 cup salsa.
- Cook beef in a skillet with chili powder, the white part of the onions, and salt and pepper.
- Once cooked, cover the pan.
- In a large salad bowl, mix the green onion, lettuce, tomato, avocado, and olives.
- Add the meat and cheese and gently toss together.
- Top with dollops of low-fat or reduced-calorie sour cream, yogurt, or salsa.
- Try other meats like ground turkey, chicken, or pork.
- For a vegetarian option, replace the ground meat with beans or textured vegetable protein.
- Adding beans will increase fiber, protein, and total carbohydrates.
Body Signals Decoded
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Cox, B D et al. “Seasonal consumption of salad vegetables and fresh fruit in relation to the development of cardiovascular disease and cancer.” Public health nutrition vol. 3,1 (2000): 19-29. doi:10.1017/s1368980000000045
Dreher ML, Davenport AJ. Hass avocado composition and potential health effects. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2013;53(7):738-750. doi:10.1080/10408398.2011.556759
Roe, Liane S et al. “Salad and satiety. The effect of timing of salad consumption on meal energy intake.” Appetite vol. 58,1 (2012): 242-8. doi:10.1016/j.appet.2011.10.003
Sebastian, Rhonda S., et al. “Salad Consumption in the U.S. What We Eat in America, NHANES 2011-2014.” FSRG Dietary Data Briefs, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), February 2018.
Yen, P K. “Nutrition: salad sense.” Geriatric nursing (New York, N.Y.) vol. 6,4 (1985): 227-8. doi:10.1016/s0197-4572(85)80093-8
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