Did you know that May is National Salad Month? That doesn’t mean you should just go out and have one salad and call it a day (or month). It means we need to start thinking and eating healthier, and a great way to do that is by incorporating more salads into our diets. Now, everyone and their grandmother knows how to make a salad. But the question is, do you know how to do it right? Here are some tips for making a healthy, yet delicious salad that will be nutritionally balanced as well as satisfying.
- Start with the base of your salad. Many people will just go out and pick up a head of iceberg lettuce (I am guilty of this), but don’t realize that there are other options that are both healthier and tastier. Try switching it up and using romaine or even spinach, and toss in some arugula or radicchio for an extra burst of flavor. Of course, not every salad has to use lettuce (fruit salad, pasta salad, potato salad, egg salad, etc.), but we’re going the traditional route here.
- In order to make a satisfying meal, you’ll probably need some protein thrown in. You can try grilled chicken, tuna, hard boiled eggs, nuts, or even tofu to spruce up the meal. Whatever your preference, just be sure to use moderation (as this is supposed to be a healthy dish). Without a good source of protein, you’re just going to be hungry again in 30 minutes, which would defeat the purpose of eating healthier.
- Add some veggies for flavor and nutrients. While most people will go straight for the tomato, onion or cucumber, bell peppers, avocado, carrots and radishes offer an additional punch of flavor into the mix, and make for a healthier dish.
- Fruit can be a great addition to any salad, as long as you have your flavors complementing each other. Strawberries, apples, orange slices, kiwi, cranberries, raisins, pineapple, raspberries and many others can transform a salad from “Meh” to “Mmmm!” in seconds, and happen to be full of essential vitamins.
- My favorite part of any meal that I cannot live without is… you guessed it, cheese! Depending on the flavor you’re trying to go for, there are many different types of cheese to add to a salad. But don’t go overboard – remember you’re trying to be healthy, after all! You can try feta, parmesan, goat, blue, gorgonzola, and so many more delicious cheeses that make my mouth water just thinking about them!
- Finally, the pièce de résistance, the thing no salad can be complete without: a good (low-fat) dressing. One approach is to simply go to the store and pick up your favorite salad dressing and be done with it. But, if you want to go all the way, you can make your own using some of the ingredients that you already have in your fridge. A good place to start is to use a vinaigrette and flavor it with fruit juices, and add some herbs for some extra zest. There are many different ways to make your own dressing (I’ve seen, olive oil, basil, garlic, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper, and many more ingredients used to make the perfect dressing for your taste), so play around with different ingredients until you have the consistency and taste you want.
Who knew salads could be so delicious when made the right way? We encourage you to try this out this month, and make a salad differently than you’re used to. Use some ingredients that you wouldn’t think would go well together. Experiment and come up with a new recipe for a great salad. And don’t forget to wear your chef coat while you’re cooking! Bon Appétit!