How to Build a Healthier Entrée Salad

July 2, 2014 – In this summer heat, one of our favorite go-to, no-fail main meals is a salad. Yep – we said it! We love salad. And with a few tips, you will too. We’re not just talking iceberg lettuce and tomatoes. For a filling salad, we like to bulk up our bowl with all kinds of greens, healthy fats and lean protein. Here are a few ideas for building an entrée salad:

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Start with the Greens: Use this general rule of thumb when selecting your greens: the darker it is, the higher the nutrient content. Iceberg lettuce contains fewer nutrients than romaine, mixed field greens or spinach. If you’re feeling more adventurous, try SimplyNature Organic Arugula or Baby Kale.

Choose Your Veggies (and Fruit): Go for a rainbow of colors to get the most nutrient variety. Pile on whichever fresh vegetables and fruit are your favorites, such as cucumbers, bell peppers and blueberries, but avoid those that have been sitting in a marinade as they can be laden with extra calories. Bonus: this is the perfect way to use leftovers in your fridge.

Pick Your Protein: This is the key ingredient to making your salad a meal that keeps you feeling full for longer. Stick to lean proteins such as chicken breast, canned tuna in water or cuts of beef such as top sirloin. Hard-boiled eggs and canned beans are good vegetarian protein options. Avoid fried foods or mayo-filled tuna and chicken salad. Shortcut: try pre-cooked Kirkwood Grilled Chicken Strips.

Top with Fun Extras: Nuts, dried fruit, avocado, olives, tortilla strips and cheese can add that next level of tastiness to your salad. Pick one or two favorites and add about 1- 2 tablespoons of each to keep calories in check.

Add a Starch: On days when you need a little extra fuel, include a small scoop of grains that contain fiber, such as cooked brown rice, sweet potato or steamed corn.

Dress It Up: If there’s a rich dressing you love, use it in moderation. Two tablespoons is a typical serving size. Nonfat Greek yogurt can also be dressed up to taste like the full-fat version of a dressing. Sprinkle some powdered ranch dressing, lemon juice and stir. Use more or less based on your tastes. For a fat free, low calorie option, just use a spritz of lemon juice or plain balsamic vinegar.

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