Most people love to enjoy a fresh & crisp salad this time of year. While I am a strong advocate for eating salads all year round, with the heat, many of us prefer to enjoy lighter dishes and meals!
Here is my formula for the PERFECT summer salad that will leave you feeling full & satisfied after:
Step 1: Leafy Base
Some examples include arugula, spinach, kale, or a combo of field greens. Choose a few large handfuls of one of the following, or mix them up. Keep in mind that iceberg lettuce contains fewer nutrients than darker greens!
Step 2: Add Some Color
For a sweet and savory flavor combination, pile on colorful fruits and vegetables — raw, roasted, or dried. Did you know that each color of fruits and veggies correlates to different vitamins and minerals? That’s why it’s so important to have a variety of colors on your plate and in your diet in general! Some options include: watermelon, berries, oranges, bell peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, cucumber, and carrots.
Step 3: Add a Protein
A serving of protein will not only help you turn your salad into a nutrient-dense meal, but it will also keep you satisfied for longer, ward off sugar cravings, and help you create strong, healthy muscles. Of course, there are plenty of vegan protein-packed salad options as well! Some lean protein options include: chicken, shrimp, salmon, tuna, boiled egg, tofu, chickpeas, beans, and lentils.
Step 4: Add a Carbohydrate
Adding a carbohydrate to your salad will help you feel more satisfied, however, choosing the right carbs are important! Opt for a complex carb such as brown rice, quinoa, sweet potato, barley, buckwheat, or whole grain pasta.
Step 5: Finish with A Healthy Fat/Dressing
Some healthy fats that you can add to your salad include avocados, nuts, seeds, low-fat cheese or hummus. In terms of dressing, depending on which type you choose, the recommended serving size is just one to two tablespoons – one for mayonnaise-based dressings and two for oil-based ones. Some healthy suggestions are: olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salsa, vinaigrette, and/or lemon juice.
To keep salad combinations interesting, try experimenting with new recipes and a variety of different colored vegetables. Use this formula as a guide and to find your own perfect salad just in time for the summer!