Make sure your salad is delicious and nutritious by following these tips.
Greens: Darker is Better
For optimal nutrition, skip the plain old iceberg lettuce. Choose romaine, green leaf, and red leaf lettuces, as well as baby spinach. The more adventurous can mix in some arugula, curly endive, or radicchio.
Pile on the Veggies
Add color and nutrition with tomatoes, carrots, mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower, radishes, green onions, bell peppers (red, yellow, and orange), cucumbers, celery, zucchini, shredded cabbage, sugar snap peas, green peas, corn, and jicama.
Raw Isn’t the Only Option
Roasted veggies take salad to the next level. Asparagus, green beans, sweet potatoes, squash, and onions roast up nicely and add flavor to your base of greens.
Don’t Forget the Fruit
Fruit adds sweetness, texture, and familiarity that might just win over the non-salad-eater in your family. Toss in some chopped apples, red grapes, Mandarin oranges, berries, pineapple, or pears. Try grilled fruit for a scrumptious summer salad.
Easy On the Fat
A heavy hand with high fat ingredients (cheese, bacon, and croutons) harms salad’s healthful reputation. But a little bit of “healthy” fat is okay if it helps you eat more salad. A sprinkling of slivered almonds, walnuts, or sunflower seeds adds crunch. Avocado and olive oil adds flavor.
Make it a Meal with Protein
Turn a side salad into a main dish by adding lean protein. Chicken breast, salmon, and tuna are standard choices. Toss on chickpeas, black beans, or a chopped, hard-cooked egg for a meatless option.
Stephanie Ronco has been editing for Food and Health Communications since 2011. She graduated from Colorado College magna cum laude with distinction in Comparative Literature. She was elected a member of Phi Beta Kappa in 2008.