Many people turn to “The Salad” for lunch when they are trying to eat healthy and or lose some weight. Salads are great for both of these goals as long as you make your salad a complete meal and not just a bowl of lettuce.
It is recommended that any lunch include some lean protein as well as some complex carbohydrates and fiber to provide the nutrients you need and satisfy your hunger.
Here are a few ingredients to help provide you with a balanced, satisfying lunch salad.
Proteins: Add a few ounces of chicken breast or Tuna to your salad or cut up a hardboiled egg. Cook up some chicken breast on Sunday and cube or slice it up. Then, divide it into portions and put each portion into a zip lock bag for the week.
You can do the same thing with tuna. Buy quality solid or chunk tuna. Don’t prepare it with mayonnaise as you would for a sandwich. You will use the dressing to add the desired flavor and moisture.
Beans: Black, Pinto or Garbanzo canned beans are a great way to add protein, carbohydrates and fiber to any meal. In addition to nutrients, They taste great and the fiber will help keep you full until your late afternoon snack.
Seeds and almonds: Seeds and almonds are a great source of healthy fats and provide some texture to you salad. 1/8 of a cup is plenty to give your salad a little pizazz.
Cheese: Another source of protein. I recommend using a dry cheese such as parmesan. Dry cheeses tend to have more flavor with fewer calories than the typical cheddar selection.
Fruits: I will add slices of apple or oranges to my salad. This is a great way to get a serving of fruit and decreases the need for a sweet dressing. You can also use dried cranberries or raisins.
Raw vegetables: adding broccoli, zucchini, carrots, celery, beets, etc. is a great way to add volume and fiber to your salad. The last thing you want to do is eat your salad and still feel hungry.
Dressing: Use low or not fat oil and vinegar dressing. Stay away from the Ranch type dressings. Even if they are low fat many times they are packed with preservatives and other chemicals that you could do without. Try using salsa as a dressing or go hard core and just use some lemon and a little pepper. If you add the ingredients above to your salad, you won’t be looking to the dressing for your flavor.
SALAD WARNING: Pay attention to the ingredients and amount of ingredients when making your salad. Too much or the wrong type of dressing can send your calorie and fat count sky rocketing. The ingredients above are nutrient dense but also pack some calories. Use lots of fresh vegetables and just a little of the other ingredients to keep the calorie count in check. Measure everything so you know exactly what you are getting.
TruChoice Fitness & Nutrition
Fitness From The Inside Out