Salads are a diet staple for good a reason – they're low in calories and fill you up with healthy ingredients.
Unfortunately salads can be tedious and time-consuming to make, encouraging us to resort to pre-packaged salads. But these can be a breeding ground for salmonella, which can cause food poisoning, according to a previous Health24 article.
And even if we do make our salads from scratch they can become boring. And if you jazz them up with high-fat dressings, you increase their calorie content.
Here are four ways to rethink your salad.
1. Ditch the lettuce
Start by experimenting with new leafy green varieties like spicy watercress and rocket leaves or nutrient-rich kale and collard greens, according to ChooseMyPlate.gov from the US Department of Agriculture. Spinach also makes a great salad base and a tasty alternative to lettuce. Look for salad mixes at the supermarket or toss together your own combinations.
2. Rethink your veggie combo
When building that salad, go beyond your typical tomato-and-cucumber. Cooked or raw vegetables have fewer calories and add taste as well as nutrients. Try veggies from asparagus to zucchini, artichoke hearts, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, string beans, peas and peppers, to name a few. Also, excite your taste buds by trying different textures – grate or dice vegetables rather than just slicing them.
3. Add a source of protein
You can easily turn a side salad into a meal by adding half a cup of beans – you'll get fibre, some protein and great taste. For even more protein, try boiled shrimp, diced chicken, hard-boiled eggs (especially the low-calorie whites) or tuna flakes.
4. Spice it up
When you add a wide variety of healthy foods to your salad, you won't have to drown it in dressing to enjoy it. Still want more pizzazz? For added zest, try fresh or dried herbs, flavored vinegar or even a squeeze of lemon.
All images supplied by iStock.