Salads are healthy, right? Not always! When we think of ‘healthy eating’, salads are usually the first thing to come to mind. Whilst they aren't the only option,they are usually a pretty good one! It can be super easy to make a delicious salad full of nutritious ingredients that also fills you up, but on the other hand there are a lot of ways you could potentially sabotage your salad and all it’s health benefits. You may be surprised at some of these popular additions!
6 Ways You’re Ruining Your Salads:
You’re Using the Wrong Dressing
Sorry girls, but that low-fat dressing you have stored in the fridge isn’t going to cut it. Don’t be fooled by their catchy marketing labels. Many store bought dressings are often loaded with sugar, artificial sweeteners, and nasty preservatives. I recommend staying away from creamy dressings, such as ranch and caesar, in general as these are usually quite high in both saturated fat and sodium. While this isn’t as big a problem with store bought vinaigrettes, they can also be filled with nasties. My tip is to always make your own! There are so many super easy dressing recipes out there, but in my opinion you can never go wrong with the classic balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil combination!
You’re Missing Protein
If you don’t have enough protein in your salad, chances are you are going to get very hungry, very quickly! Protein helps to keep you feeling fuller for longer, and turns your salad from a side to a main meal. My top picks are grilled chicken, salmon and tuna. Beans or tofu are also great for a vegetarian option. Try to stay away from deep fried additions, such as crumbed calamari or chicken, as these will also add large amounts of fat and salt to your salad.
Your Greens Aren’t Great
Hate to break this to you, but even your greens count in a salad! Your best bet is to pick the darkest, leafiest greens you can find. Things such as kale and spinach are a good pick because they are filled with nutrients and fibre, which have all sorts of benefits for your body. Try to stay away from iceberg and cos lettuce as they are mainly made up of water. If you like the crunch of these then mix them in with the goodies, such as spinach!
You Don’t Use Enough Ingredients
So before you get carried away, let me make it clear that I’m talking about veggies and the like. Unfortunately, piling on the croutons won’t cut it! When making a salad try to get as many colours of the rainbow in as possible (sounds cliche I know!). This will ensure you are receiving a wide variety of nutrients, feeling full and satisfied and most importantly your salad will taste great! Try to stick to veggies that are in season, and experiment with different salad recipes to keep your tastebuds happy!
You’re Going Overboard With Nuts & Seeds
Nuts and seeds are a great source of protein and healthy fats. However if you overdo them in your salad, you may go from a simple nutritional boost to overboard! Although they are filled with the good kinds of fat, remember that they provide us with lots of energy, so moderation is still very important.Aim to only add a few nuts to your salad. By chopping them up, you will still experience the crunch and texture and you will feel like you have more in there.
Your Salad Resembles a Cheese Board
Whilst cheese is a great addition to any salad for a little boost of calcium and protein, again, it is very easy to overdo! It is important to only stick to small amounts of cheese in your salads, and the type of cheese also makes a difference. My favourites too add to my salad are bocconcini, mozzarella or salt-reduced feta cheese. Try to only add one type of cheese and use this to add creamy flavour, rather than be the star of your salad.
I want you girls to remember that just because you choose to eat a ‘salad’ doesn’t always mean it is a super healthy option. You should be particularly wary in restaurants, where they add a lot of the ingredients mentioned above in order to make their salads tasty. If you are struggling with salad options, opt for a piece of lean meat that has been grilled or baked with a side of veggies as this type of dish will help to keep you satisfied and provide your body with an abundance of nutrients. If you are making your own salad at home, I encourage you to experiment with different veggies and ways of serving them, such as baking and marinating as these are just a few great ways to add flavour!
What are your favourite salad combos?
Love, Kayla xx