A Guide to Making the Best Healthy Salads
Salad doesn’t always mean healthy. More often than not, salads are over loaded with high-calorie packed dressings, fried toppings, and lots of harmful cheese toppings. The salad ends up heavy and greasy instead of green and healthy. Kate Morin provided some guidelines on how any salad can be a real healthy meal.
“First, you have to start with the four key ingredients to make any bowl o' greens delicious and nutritious: greens, protein, veggies or fruit, and dressing. Then, there are the bonus points: grains, crunch, and extras (say cheese!). Proportions and combinations are up to you!”
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Try these best options for a healthier salad:
Greens: arugula, spinach, kale, herbs, mixed greens, cabbage, radicchio
Grains: quinoa, pearled barley, wild rice, faro, wheat berries, bulgur wheat, buckwheat, millet, spelt, freekeh, kamut
Protein: Chicken or turkey, Salmon or tuna, steak, chickpeas, tempeh, roasted tofu, eggs, beans, lunch meat or prosciutto, edamame
Vegetables: beets, carrots, onion, cucumber, bell peppers, tomato, celery, mushrooms, artichoke hearts, olives, peas, jicama, broccoli, brussels sprouts, radish, fennel
Crunches: nuts, toasted quinoa, chia, air popped popcorn, pita chips, baked tortilla chips, hemp seeds, sunflower seeds, bacon
Extras: feta, goat cheese, mozzarella, bleu cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, pesto
In an article by Cook Smarts, “3 Ways to Make Salads an Even Healthier Part of Your Life,” Jess Dang provides the following tips:
Begin Your Day with a Salad
I know it might seem weird to eat salad for breakfast, but it’s one of my favorite ways to fuel up. While I love carbs, having a carb-heavy breakfast (especially white carbs) is not the best way to wake your body up.
Salads, on the other hand, are full of high-fiber, low-glycemic ingredients that will help you feel satiated for longer and energetically power through to lunch. Plus, a lot of great breakfast foods make great salad ingredients.
Begin Your Meal with a Salad
Even if you can’t begin your day with a salad, try to begin lunch or dinner with a salad. Again, since salad ingredients are full of fiber and water, it causes you to feel full so you’ll likely tackle your main course with a little less gusto. If you’re looking to lose weight, this is a great way to eat a little bit less.
Make Your Own Dressing
As a kid, I would have been happy to drink Hidden Valley ranch dressing out of a sippy cup, and I didn’t discover that salad dressing could be homemade until a college summer abroad in Italy. Imagine my culture shock when server after server kept bringing me bottles of oil and vinegar instead of a salad smothered in creamy mayo and sour cream-based ranch.
Facts You Need to Know about Brussels Sprouts
“Brussels sprouts fall into the cruciferous category of vegetables, which also includes broccoli and cabbage. This group of vegetables offers a unique composition of antioxidants that promotes good health. Additionally, Brussels sprouts are low in calories, while offering protein, vitamins, and minerals to support a healthy body,” as defined by Andrea Cespedes, a professionally trained chef who has focused her studies on nutrition.
In addition...Brussels Sprouts are Too Good To Pass Up
“In a 1/2 cup of boiled, unsalted Brussels sprouts, you get just 28 calories and only trace amounts of fat. Eating Brussels sprouts as a side dish, instead of a higher calorie food, can help you manage your weight. Brussels sprouts provide 2g of protein per 1/2 cup. Although the sprouts lack several of the amino acids necessary to make it a complete protein like meat or dairy, you can include grains, such as brown rice or whole wheat pasta, in your diet to obtain all the amino acids you need.”
Research in the Netherlands generated a report on Brussels sprouts’ possible ability to fight cancer and other diseases by helping the body detoxify. Eating them boosts the body’s natural defense systems and promotes healthy DNA, which can be damaged when natural chemicals in the cells begin replicating faster than normal.
The study involved two groups of men, only half ingesting 300 grams of Brussels sprouts per day. After five weeks, results showed a 28 percent decrease in DNA damage in the group eating the sprouts. Further studies indicate cancer-fighting abilities of Brussels sprouts for men in particular.
The way cruciferous veggies such as Brussels sprouts are prepared matters. One study in 2011 shows that not only can Brussels sprouts produce enzymes to detoxify the body from cancer-inducing properties, but steaming them also brings out the best combination of benefits. A plentiful supply of glucosinolates found in Brussels sprouts plays a large part in this toxin-ridding action in the cells.
How Is Greek Yogurt Different from Other Yogurt?
“If you are looking for a thicker, creamer version of your regular yogurt, try Greek yogurt, which comes in flavors or in plain. It comes in the same flavors or plain, and you can eat it as a snack or incorporate it in recipes, desserts, and smoothies. There are benefits to eating Greek yogurt, and comparing it to regular yogurt can help you choose which one is best for your dietary needs. This yogurt has many benefits along with a taste that will leave you feeling full and satisfied,” Ashley Schwader explains, who is a personal trainer and expert in nutrition, weight management, corporate wellness and health promotion.
Kurtis Hiatt & Angela Haupt of US News discussed the differences between Greek yogurt and regular yogurt in terms of macronutrient and mineral contents:
Protein – Greek yogurt is high in protein, which helps promote fullness. A typical 6-ounce serving contains 15 to 20 grams, the amount in 2 to 3 ounces of lean meat. That makes it particularly appealing to vegetarians, who sometimes struggle to get enough of the nutrient. An identical serving of regular yogurt, on the other hand, provides just 9 grams, meaning you may feel hunger pangs sooner.
Carbohydrates – Going Greek is a smart choice for low-carb dieters. It contains roughly half the carbs as the regular kind—5 to 8 grams per serving compared with 13 to 17. Plus, the straining process removes some of the milk sugar and lactose, making Greek yogurt less likely to upset the lactose-intolerant. Remember, however, that "both types of yogurt can contain high amounts of carbs if they're sweetened with sugar or another sweetening agent," says Kari Hartel, a Missouri-based registered dietitian. "No matter which type you choose, opt for yogurt with less added sugar."
Fat – Be wary of Greek yogurt's fat content. In just 7 ounces, Fage's full-fat Greek yogurt packs 16 grams of saturated fat—or 80 percent of your total daily allowance if you're on a 2,000-calorie diet. (That's more than in three Snickers bars.) Dannon's regular full-fat yogurt has 5 grams of saturated fat in an 8-ounce serving. Saturated fat raises total and "bad" LDL cholesterol levels, increasing the risk for heart disease. Read nutrition labels carefully. If you're going Greek, stick to full fat options and monitor your quantity. Low fat, and fat free may seem like the right solution, but these alternatives are loaded with sugar to make them palatable.
Sodium – A serving of Greek yogurt averages 50 milligrams of sodium—about half the amount in most brands of the regular kind. (Low-sodium versions of regular yogurt are available.) Too much salt can boost blood pressure and increase the risk of other heart problems. The federal government's 2010 Dietary Guidelines urge Americans to cap sodium at 2,300 milligrams a day, or 1,500 milligrams if they're older than 50; African-American; or have hypertension, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease.
Calcium – Regular yogurt provides 30 percent of the federal government's recommended daily amount. Greek yogurt loses some of its calcium through the straining process, but still packs a wallop. A 6-ounce cup typically supplies about 20 percent of the daily recommendation. If you're still worried about calcium intake, load up on milk, seeds, and almonds, says Sarah Krieger, a registered dietician and spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association.
Ketchup's Healthier Neighbor; The Benefits of Mustard in Your Diet
Some of the most common mustard types available in the United States are yellow mustard, deli-style or brown mustard, Dijon mustard, honey mustard, and stone-ground or whole-grain mustard.
In an article entitled, “The Nutrition of Mustard,” it states:
“Mustard is often promoted as a smart diet choice when used as a substitute for mayonnaise, because it is lower in fat and calories. However, those who are following a sodium-restricted diet, such as patients with high blood pressure or kidney disease, should read nutrition labels carefully for salt content. One tablespoon of either yellow or brown mustard can contain up to 200 milligrams of sodium, almost 8 percent of the recommended intake of 2,400 milligrams.”
In this recipe, whole-grain mustard is being added to the salad:
Baked Brussels Sprouts, Crispy Taro, and Carrots Salad with Smart Dressing
For the Brussels Sprouts and Crispy Taro:450g Brussels sprouts
350g raw taro
tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
Salt and pepper to taste
For the Tangy Balsamic Vinaigrette:
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup plain Greek yogurt
½ juice of a lemon
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons cup balsamic vinegar
½ tablespoon whole grain mustard
1 scoop Momental Mind
Salt and pepper to taste
For the Salad:
⅓ cup slivered almonds
⅓ cup roasted cashews, chopped
⅓ cup dried cranberries
⅓ cup shredded turnip
⅓ cup shredded carrots
450g mixed greens
⅓ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- Remove the stems of the Brussels and chop into quarters.
- Wash taro very well and slice as thinly as possible, use mandolin if there’s any available to achieve thin taro slices.
- In a mixing bowl, add oil and all the spices for the Brussels sprouts and taro and toss everything together.
- Preheat oven to 400F. Lightly grease a baking sheet.
- Transfer to the baking sheet all the contents of the mixing bowl and bake for 20–25 minutes or until taro is already crispy.
- In a small bowl, mix all the vinaigrette ingredients together.
- In a large bowl, toss all the salad ingredients and mix very well. Add the roasted Brussels sprouts and taro.
- Drizzle the salad dressing over the salad and mix very well.