Whether you’re playing in the pool, lounging at the lake or sunbathing on the beach, these four simple steps for making healthier summer salads will keep you satisfied and energized so you can get the nutrients you need without feeling overly full or fatigued. Most salads are bland and boring with the same low-fat sugary dressings and chewy lean protein tossed with lifeless leaves of lettuce. The good news is, you don’t have to eat like a rabbit to lose weight and be healthy. Surprisingly, salads can be a great source of enzyme-rich raw vegetables, antioxidant-boosting fresh fruits, muscle-building quality proteins, and fat-burning natural fats. By following the suggestions below, you can shed the pounds without compromising on flavor.
1. Go Green
Grab a bowl and start building a green base by adding lettuce or leafy greens such as spinach, romaine, arugula, mâche, frisée, watercress, kale, or dandelion. In general, darker greens contain more nutrients than lighter greens. Dark greens are rich in antioxidants, iron, fiber, and vitamins A, K and C. Greens also alkalinize the body, support the liver and promote healthy gut flora. Unfortunately, cabbage family greens contain goitrogens that can inhibit your thyroid and decrease your metabolism when they’re consumed in large amounts or regularly. To render this problem, it’s best to lightly cook cruciferous veggies.
2. Create Contrast
Next, spruce up your salad by creating contrast with color, texture and flavor. With a wide selection of seasonal foods to choose from, it’s easy to infuse your salad with vibrant veggies, flavorful fruits, and fabulous fats. Fresh produce is a nourishing source of enzymes, phytonutrients, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fiber that aid digestion, enhance detoxification, boost metabolism, and support overall health. Give your salad extra nutrients by topping it with sliced tomatoes, shredded carrots, or diced peppers. Add sweetness with juicy strawberries, tart green apple, or zesty orange. Satisfy your senses with a spoonful of crisp flaxseeds, creamy avocado or crunchy walnuts.
3. Pack In Protein
Don’t forget to add a high quality protein to promote fat burning, increase satiation, reducing sugar cravings, and support the immune system. Include about 25 grams of complete protein to salads, which is about 3 ounces of meat, poultry, fish or seafood. Look for organic, hormone-free, antibiotic-free, lean proteins. For extra nutritional benefits, particularly more anti-inflammatory omega-3s and immune-boosting conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), select pastured, free-range or wild proteins. Great sources include: eggs, nitrate-free sausage or bacon, salmon, shrimp, bison, beef, pork, chicken, turkey, and cottage cheese.
4. Dress With Success
Lastly, steer clear of supermarket salad dressings. They’re loaded with harmful man-made ingredients such as rancid vegetable oil, refined sugars, non-organic pasteurized dairy, preservatives, thickening agents, and artificial food coloring. Dress your salad with success by making your own dressing. Simply combine extra virgin olive oil with fresh citrus juice (lemon, lime, grapefruit or orange), organic apple cider vinegar, balsamic, or Zukay probiotic dressing.
Would you like to lose weight, reduce inflammation, improve sleep, increase energy and feel better on a daily basis? Contact Certified Nutritionist and Kitchen Coach, Cate Ritter, to improve your health now!