For those who are looking to develop healthier eating habits, it’s normal to opt for a salad as a lunch or dinner meal. Over the past few years, salads have actually become cores of taste, instead of unappealing, substandard options at the local deli or one of your other favorite lunchtime spots.
Restaurants like Chop’t have essentially turned the salad into a type of “art.” And, the increasing presence of seasonal and fresh produce at grocery stores, farmers’ markets and health food stores means basic ingredients that are needed to make a delicious salad are more readily available, whether you prefer cooking at home or picking up something on the go.
However, there can always be some hazards when it comes to this approach. If you have a salad for lunch that just isn’t quite hearty enough, you will moat likely find yourself snacking all throughout the rest of the afternoon, and probably on foods that are nowhere near as healthy for your body as the grains, nuts and greens that are plentiful in salads. On the other hand, you can tilt things in a contradicting direction as well. An excellent and healthy salad can instantaneously become an unhealthy one if you smother it in the wrong kind of dressing or pile a bunch of cheese on top of it.
The host of “Food Envy,” Candice Kumai, has also written cookbooks such as “Cook Yourself Thin” and “Clean Green Drinks.” She knows all about discovering the proper balance to ensure that your salad is as healthy and as satiating as a full meal. To start with, she advocates the use of seasonal ingredients. She recommends getting vegetables when they’re in their peak season, because that’s when they have the highest nutrient content available. Your body will begin to automatically crave whatever is in season, naturally, if you let it.
Kumai also advocates allowing your body to get used to consuming more salads, which is a process that will likely include a few weeks of packing a lunch for work. You can keep many of the green staples the same, such as argula, kale, dandelion greens, mizuna, and brussels sprouts. Your salad’s “accessories” (aka accoutrements) should be seasonal, if possible. Additionally, anytime you have leftover grains and/or veggies from dinner, you can reuse them in a salad for your lunch the following day.
Adding proteins into your salad will keep you feeling fuller throughout your day. Nuts like walnuts, unroasted almonds and cashews are good protein choices. Grains are also helpful in making a more filling salad, like quinoa and amaranth.
Whenever you are making your salads, you want to keep them filling without having to overeat. You should actually pack your lunch as your largest meal. For example: An eggplant salad, the size of the eggplant should correspond with the size of the eater’s fist. Add spinach greens, bean sprouts, almonds and carrots, and voila, you have a complete meal. Kumai notes that the Japanese have a concept of eating until you are feeling 80% full called “hara hachi bu.”
For salad dressings, Kumai recommends combining 4 elements. The 1st one is a “fat” component” Good choices for this can include:
- Olive oil
- Cocnut oil
- Avocado oil
- Sesame oil
- Almond oil
The 2nd element is a natural sweetener (NOT sugar), that should be used sparingly. The 3rd component is an acidic one, like:
- Balsamic vinegar
- Lemon juice
- Apple cider vinegar
The 4th and final completing component should be a pinch of salt. This could be something like sea salt or soy sauce.
Salads are one of the ways that many people can eat healthier and still feel full. Taking control of your health can help your find balance and reclaim your well-being.