Guidelines for Healthy and Tasty Summer Salads

Friday, June 20, 2014

Healthy saladWe all have our favourite summer salad recipes, but if you want salads that are both tasty and healthy, consider the following:

  • Most of the calories reside in the salad dressing. If you are at an optimal weight, you should not stop reading, because most of the heart-unhealthy fat tends to be in the dressing too. This is unsurprising, since it is usually cream that gives it such a lovely buttery texture. Avoid this by using low-fat mayonnaise. Even better, mix vinegar, lemon juice, and low-fat plain yogurt or non-fat sour cream to make your own healthy and tasty salad dressing. If you eat in a restaurant, ask them to serve the dressing on the side and leave it alone.

  • We all like crispy iceberg lettuce, but it is unfortunately not as healthy as ingredients with darker leaves. Try spinach or kale for a healthy green salad.

  • Use carbohydrates that are low on the glycemic index. You will feel satiated and energetic for longer and will avoid putting on unnecessary weight. Replace bleached white pasta with 100 percent whole-grain pasta or rice vermicelli. Boiled potatoes in moderation are acceptable. Potatoes have earned their fattening reputation primarily because of unhealthy cooking methods and toppings.

  • Choose salad meat with care. You have more control over the fat content and chemicals of home-cooked meat than the processed meats you buy from a deli. Bacon and sausage also contain considerable fat, unless you buy low-fat varieties. Chicken or turkey breast, fish, and round steak can add some healthy substance to your salad.

  • If you want to balance your salad with both proteins and carbohydrates, you can do so without adding meat. All types of beans have high protein content, and you can even try bean thread noodles if you want a pasta salad. Most nuts and seeds are protein rich and some crunchiness is delicious in most salads. The best carbohydrates are vegetables like tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots and all the green vegetables recommended above. You can never go wrong with fresh fruit either.

  • Keep the proteins healthy. Choose the meats recommended above, together with non-fat cheese, one per cent cottage cheese and egg whites only. 

Adjust your favourite recipes to use these ingredients. The changes may not be as big as you think.