A salad… is it a fantastic side or a main dish? Really, it can be either. Regardless of where you fit salads into your diet, they tend to be packed with nutrition and can make a great component of any meal.
Start with a Salad Base
Use a base with dark, leafy greens such as romaine lettuce, spinach or kale. Dark leafy greens are good sources of folate, fiber, vitamin C and vitamin K. Fill your bowl or plate for maximum nutrition. Some people choose iceberg lettuce, which doesn’t pack the same nutritional punch, but still has smaller amounts of folate and vitamin K.
Add Some Sides
Load up on veggies! Adding mixes like carrots, cucumbers and tomatoes will provide a variety of extra nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and fiber. Not to mention, you’ll get lots of different tastes and textures.
How about fruit? Sliced pears or strawberries add a touch of healthy sweetness and an extra nutritional punch.
Add some fat. Sliced avocadoes, a few olives or a sprinkle of nuts can add healthy fats to your salad along with extra crunch and flavor. Use sparingly as calories from fats add up quickly.
Dress it up! Low-calorie dressings or balsamic vinaigrettes can make great options. If you choose a full-fat salad dressing, use your fork to dip in the dressing rather than drenching your whole salad in it.
Think Protein for a Full Meal
What’s a meal without protein? Protein helps your body build and maintain muscle mass and keeps you feeling full for longer.
- Lean meats: turkey, chicken, steak and tuna can make great additions to salads, hot or cold. A serving of last night’s dinner mixed into your salad might make a delicious new meal! Each ounce of lean meat provides about seven grams of protein.
- Dairy and eggs: a serving of cheese or a chopped-up egg can also make a great protein boost. Just a sprinkle can pack in extra nutrients.
Barbecue Chicken Salad
- 8 oz. boneless skinless chicken breast
- 1 tsp. reduced-sodium Montreal chicken seasoning
- Cooking spray
- 2 cups chopped romaine lettuce
- 2 small tomatoes, diced
- 1 corn on the cob with a husk
- 2 tsps. light ranch dressing, homemade or store-bought
- 1 tsp. barbecue sauce
- Pound the thicker end of the breast so it’s even on both sides for even cooking.
- Grill the chicken. Season the chicken with Montreal chicken seasoning (or any seasoned salt). Cook chicken on a pre-heated grill or grill pan sprayed with oil over medium heat for about five minutes on each side, or until the chicken is cooked through in the center. Check the internal temperature of the chicken using a cooking thermometer. It should be 165°F when done. Transfer to a cutting board and slice thin.
- Cook the corn. Place the corn in the microwave for four minutes, or peel and boil it in water for five minutes. Peel the husk off the corn, then cut the corn off the cobb. If you prefer to grill the corn, peel it and grill it directly on the grill grates alongside the chicken until it’s charred all over.
- Prepare the salad. Divide the lettuce, tomatoes, corn and chicken onto two plates, then drizzle with BBQ sauce and dressing.
Don’t delay – Have a salad today!