“Eating salad almost every day may be one of the most healthy eating habits you can adopt -- and one of the simplest,” writes Elaine Magee, MPH, RD. “Not only that, but salads are cool, crunchy, and fun to eat.”
Of course, not all salads are created equal. A bowl full of iceberg lettuce just doesn’t have the same nutritional value as a bowl of kale fortified with extra healthy ingredients that keep you fuller longer.
Ready to get the most out of your daily salad? We reached out to the experts for their top tips for turning your favorite greens into a highly nutritious and ultra-satisfying meal:
Get in some protein
In addition to protein being a basic building block that helps your body repair cells and make new ones, it also fills you up and keeps you feeling satisfied longer.
You can top your salad with shrimp, salmon, lean beef, chicken, or eggs. If you prefer to stay away from animal products, you can also opt for chickpeas, beans, edamame, nuts, quinoa, or other high-protein grains.
Lisa Kiersky Schreiber, Certified Nutrition/Health Coach.
Include a healthy fat
Include a healthy fat in your salad, either in the dressing or in the form of toppings, such as avocado and nuts.
By including fat in your salad, you're enabling your body to absorb the fat soluble vitamins in the vegetables you put in your salad. This makes the good vitamins from your vegetables more available to your body and helps you to utilize them.
Further, by including a fat in your salad, you're helping with satiation and your body to stay fuller longer.
Kyrie Luke, Wellness expert and Founder, Healthfully Rooted Home
Add fresh berries for a sweet antioxidant boost
Berries bring a juicy burst of sweetness to an otherwise boring salad, and they’re supercharged with antioxidants. What’s more, studies have shown that berries may help improve blood sugar and insulin response. As if this wasn’t enough, they provide a beneficial source of fiber, which makes them a beautiful salad add-on for those on low-carb diets.
Stephanie Sansoucie, Founder & CEO, We Want Veggies
Pick the best foundation for your salad
You might love filling your salad with leafy greens, but there’s a catch. While all greens are healthy, dark green leaves are more nutritious. Spinach is one of the healthiest choices in terms of leafy dark greens, while iceberg is a lot less nutritionally dense. You can mix it up by adding diverse light and dark green vegetables, as well as cruciferous vegetables, which are known for their anti-cancer qualities. All in all, you should focus on adding different greens to your salad base and keep leaning towards these green nutritious vegetables if your goal is to lose weight.
Vicky Cano, Chef & Recipe Developer, Meal Fan
Add More Whole GrainsDon’t skimp on nutritious whole grains, like cooked brown rice, quinoa, farro, and barley, which most people only use as toppings. Make the whole grains in your salad an equal value ingredient to veggies and protein to add nutritional value. Whole grains are extremely rich in fiber and protein, both of which are essential for a healthy diet plan. Additionally, they offer multiple health benefits, like controlling cholesterol levels and assisting with weight loss.
Lori Bogedin, Chef and Culinary Expert, Twigs Cafe
Focus on fiber
Salads are a wonderful way to pack in the fiber. Adding legumes or beans with sliced apples to your bed of spinach with broccoli and carrots can get you 23 grams in one meal. The daily fiber recommendation for women is 21-25 grams and for men 30-38 grams. Fiber is the nutrient to maximize due to its beneficial impact on cholesterol, weight control, heart disease, reduced cancer risk, and so much more.
Dr. Robin Baines, Founder, All About You Wellness
Adding color and crunch to your salad
The pro tip for making your salad more nutritious is to add ‘lots of colors and crunch to it by mixing greens with vegetables and fruits.
For example, if you are preparing a salad using greens, like lettuce, kale, or spinach, you can add a lot of crunch and color to your greens by adding the following vegetables and fruits:
Beetroot, tomatoes, cucumber, onion, peas, carrots, red cabbage, sprouts, peppers, broccoli, apple, cranberries, red grapes, and strawberries.
By adding vegetables and fruits to your bowl of greens you are providing your body with a wider range of essential vitamins and minerals. Moreover, the body gets all essential phytonutrients, such as fiber, folate, calcium, and beta carotene in a daily bowl of greens.
Andrew Fox, CEO, Aim Workout
Bypass calorie dense ingredients, like croutons and bacon.
Loading your salad with nutrient dense foods will simultaneously increase your nutrients while also ensuring you are full and satisfied after your meal. You don't have to add high fat animal products like fried chicken fingers to your salad to make it filling.
Some of my favorite, filling, and nutrient dense salad ingredients include chickpeas, quinoa, avocado, and nuts. These wouldn't necessarily go on the same salad, but a mix of nuts with avocado and dried fruit is one of my favorite choices.
Chickpeas and quinoa could both serve as the protein for your salad, and they also provide a great source of fiber. Both of these nutrients will keep you feeling full and satisfied long after your meal. Nuts and avocado provide healthy fats that also contribute to a salad's ability to keep you satisfied without saturated fat.
In addition to filling up your salad bowl with these healthy ingredients, a great way to fortify your wellness routine is with cold-pressed juice shots. KOR Shots are packed with healthy ingredients, like organic fruit juices, vitamins, and adaptogens, for adding a daily dose of wellness to your day. You can even transform our probiotic-rich Gut Check into a delicious vinaigrette using this recipe.
Trista Best, MPH, RD, LD, Balance One Supplements
Or, get to know all of our flavors with our customizable Rainbow Pack.
Fill your body with goodness with KOR!
Wonderful tips! I’m craving a salad now! Thanks for using one of my tips too :)