When we read the word salad, the first thing we get in our mind is lettuce, cucumber and tomatoes. But salads are more than that, let’s understand the best way to put together a salad that is packed with lots of nutrition and not just loaded with calories in the name of a salad!
Salads can also be considered as a balanced meal if made keeping in mind the below points:
The best dressing for a salad constitutes only two to three ingredients and should be low in calories. You can opt for combinations of extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, aloe vera juice or jamun juice.. Olive oil is abundant in healthy fats and other nutrients, making it the best go-to option for your salad.
Including green leafy vegetables in your salad is very important since that is the great way to incorporate all the nutrients present in them. These green veggies contain phytonutrients, that help regulate the level of sugar in our blood. You can add lettuce, arugula leaves, coriander, mint as per your taste.
Bell peppers, tomatoes, carrots and other such coloured veggies are full of vitamins, powerful antioxidants and good carbohydrates so make sure to add these to your salad bowl. Each colour of the vegetable indicates their specific nutrient, so try incorporating as many as you can.
One of the most important elements of a diet, protein consists of essential amino acids, which our body cannot produce it and hence it is important to provide it through the diet. It is the building block for healthy skin, bones and muscles. It also helps lower blood pressure and reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Milk and milk products, chicken, egg whites are some of the best sources of protein. Also, a variety of nuts such as almonds, walnuts, seeds such as flax seeds and pumpkin seeds, legumes and beans – these are some great vegetarian sources of protein which can be included in a salad.
The next most important ingredient for your salad should be a source of dietary fibre. Rich sources of dietary fibre include quinoa, beans, chia seeds, flax seeds, legumes, hemp seeds etc. These foods keep you full for a longer time, as these take longer to digest. Fibre also makes digestion smoother and helps with weight-loss.
It is important to provide calcium through our diet for the maintenance of our bones. Dairy foods such as milk, cheese, yoghurt, vegetables such as broccoli and kale, tofu, seeds and dried fruit are vegetarian sources of calcium.
Good quality fat
Toss in omega-3 fatty acids rich ingredients like. avocados, walnuts, tahini, olives, flaxseeds etc. Omega-3 fatty acids help to keep your heart away from the bad cholesterol.
You need to take care that while making a salad, that you don’t add components that would actually strip away all the benefits of it. Processed or fried meats such as bacon and salami and dressings that are full of fats and unhealthy oils are a strict no-no. White bread, fried food, too much salt, white sugar – these are a few ingredients you definitely want to avoid if you want to get the best out of your salad. Also, make sure you don’t refrigerate your salad as this rips off all the nutrients and enzymes. Always prepare it fresh and gorge on them right away!