College Advice Blog

Jun 29, 2012

Build Yourself a Healthy Salad

Creating a healthy salad may seem like a simple task.  After all, it’s salad, right? Isn’t it inherently healthy?

Not so fast. Sure, the base of a salad is vegetables, but as soon as  you start piling on toppings like cheese and creamy dressing,  you’re sabotaging your healthy eating efforts.

Start with your bed of lettuce. Instead of choosing iceberg, add in  a mix of greens including romaine, which is crunchy, and dark, leafy  greens and spinach, which are rich in nutrients and have more flavor.  Then, add in all the veggies you like! Tomatoes, peppers, carrots, sugar  snap peas, beets, cucumbers, corn, onions, radishes--go nuts!!! Also  consider adding some fruit. Mandarin oranges, apples, grapes, and pears  are all great choices for a touch of sweetness. Dried fruits, like cherries  and raisins, are tasty, too, but you’ll want to keep those to a sprinkle,  as they are higher in calories. Avocado is a great choice for some creaminess  and healthy fat, but it’s also high in calories. Make sure you stick  to a few slices so you don’t overdo it.

Top your salad with some kind of protein--it bulks up your salad and  helps you feel full longer. Lean grilled chicken, tofu, cottage cheese,  beans, and hard boiled eggs are all great choices. Nuts are another  source of protein, and while they add healthy fats to your salad, they  also tend to be high in calories. If you do add nuts, be sure to keep  the portion to a tablespoon or two. Same goes for cheese--you can have  some, but don’t pile it on! Stick to about an ounce, which looks like  4 dice, or a small sprinkling.

Last but not least: step away from the ranch dressing. Everyone loves  a creamy dressing, but it’s the fastest way to sabotage your healthy  eating efforts! Instead, choose olive oil and vinegar. It still adds tons of flavor, but keeps the fat and calories  down.

Be creative and follow these tips, and you’ll find yourself with endless  healthy and delicious salad combinations!

Melissa Woodson is the community manager for @WashULaw,  an online
LLM degree offered through Washington University  in St. Louis. In her spare time, she enjoys running, cooking, and making  half-baked attempts at training her dog.


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