How to construct a healthy salad

Salads are more than just a few greens and tomato slices — in fact, if your salads are merely a few greens and tomato slices, it’s no wonder that you aren’t eating more of them. Load your salad plate with nutrient-dense ingredients and you’ll not only boost your nutrition and health, you’ll also learn to love salads as esteemed vegan meals. Here’s how.
Salads are more than just a few greens and tomato slices — in fact, if your salads are merely a few greens and tomato slices, it’s no wonder that you aren’t eating more of them. Load your salad plate with nutrient-dense ingredients and you’ll not only boost your nutrition and health, you’ll also learn to love salads as esteemed vegan meals. Here’s how.

How to make a power salad

1. Toss a rainbow

The more colorful your salad, the more nutrients it will deliver. Swap out pale green iceberg lettuce for red leaf lettuce and radicchio. Add shredded or sliced carrots. Toss in shredded red cabbage. Throw in sliced radishes, red grapes, cherry tomatoes, diced mango, red pepper strips, blackberries, red onion and any other ready-to-eat colorful veg or fruit.

2. Fatten up

You’ll be far more satisfied with salads that boast ingredients dense in healthy fats. Add sliced avocado and olives. Scatter salads with seeds and nuts (try a generous sprinkling of shredded toasted coconut!). Plant-based fats are heart healthy and will keep your hunger at bay longer than if you eat plain greens.

3. Pump up the protein

Protein is another nutrient that will make your salads more filling and satisfying. Add a handful of shelled edamame or other cooked beans. Mix in nuts or seeds; they are loaded with fat, fiber, and protein. Whisk together a nut butter dressing with vinegar and olive oil. Toss in some tofu or tempeh chunks.

4. Dress wisely

Being healthy doesn’t mean your salad should be dressed with nothing more than a squeeze of lemon. Whisk together extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice or your favorite vinegar, fresh herbs, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to make a simple vinaigrette then toss your salad with it, serving extra on the side. Be sure to dress salads right before serving as the acidic ingredients, like citrus juice or vinegar, will wilt the greens.

5. Serve your salad chilled

Warm grain salads or pasta side dishes are yummy when warm but chilled green salads have a lovely vibrancy and crisp texture that gives them a special quality. If you don’t believe it, make a salad then put some on a plate that you leave on the counter for an hour and put some salad on a plate that you keep in the refrigerator for an hour. Guaranteed, you will prefer the crisp, chilled salad. Serve salads on chilled plates, if possible, to keep them cool during mealtime. Chilling salads doesn’t make them healthier but it may encourage you to eat more of them, which is a healthy diet move.

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