It’s hard to believe there’s such a thing as a salad done “wrong”! After all, you just mix up your favorite veggies, add some dressing, and enjoy, right? Well, not quite. There are things that make your salad end up being less healthy than you’d expect. Here’s how you might be preparing salad incorrectly:
Adding Too Much Protein
If you’re eating cheese, ham, chicken, eggs, and fish in your salad, you’re probably overdoing it! Protein makes any salad a complete meal, but there is such a thing as too much. You should stick with your normal serving size of protein in your salad.
Not Adding Enough Protein
Just eating veggies alone is fine if you’re getting other sources of protein. However, if you’re only eating salad for lunch or dinner, you need some form of protein: legumes, tuna, sardines, seeds, nuts, fish, chicken, eggs, etc. Adding protein into your salad will boost your metabolism and encourage better fat-burning, plus it’s needed for muscle growth. Always make sure your salad has some form of protein to make it a truly well-rounded meal.
While lettuce is the base of most salads, it shouldn’t be the only veggie ingredient you use. Lettuce is loaded with fiber but not a lot more. You need to add tomatoes, bell peppers, carrots, corn, cabbage, onions, and other colorful veggies to ensure you’re getting a proper mix of nutrients. The more colors in your salad, the better!
Ranch, Caesar, Blue Cheese, and Thousand Island dressings are all delicious, but they don’t add much in the way of nutrition to your salad. In fact, they’re basically empty calories of fat that will add to your waistline. Instead, make your own olive oil-based dressings using honey, mustard, vinegar, spices, garlic, and other natural ingredients. Or opt for vinaigrettes, Italian dressing, and other olive oil-based dressings instead of creamy dressings.
Too Little Fat
Yes, there is such a thing as too little fat! Your body needs fat in order to function, and a diet rich in healthy (unsaturated) fats will burn more calories throughout the day. Adding nuts, seeds, avocadoes, protein, and olive oil into your salad will help to spark your metabolism. The right kinds of fat can also reduce inflammation, promote better cardiovascular health, and fill you up for hours.
What could be worse than a boring, flavorless salad? Not a whole lot! Salad can be a vibrant, dynamic mix of colorful veggies, herbs, spices, and flavors, or it can be a bowl of leafy green stuff that you have to force yourself to eat. Add flavor to your salad, and you’ll be far more likely to enjoy every bite!
Not Enough Salad
Salad is not something you should eat “on the side” of your regular meal. It should comprise around 60% of your meal, as that’s the best way to ensure you’re getting enough dietary fiber for healthy digestion. A small bowl or plate of salad won’t cut it—you need to load up your primary dinner plate with greens and eat them all!
A bit of carbs can improve your body’s fat-burning and provide energy for your exercise and daily activities. You want to avoid croutons and tortilla chips, but definitely add in some corn, quinoa, or roasted potatoes—anything with natural, healthy starch. These starches will help to satisfy your body’s demands for carbohydrates, but not with empty calories that provide little in the way of nutrition. The nutrient-rich starches will improve your health and make your salad A LOT healthier!