Registered Dietician, Julie Upton investigates how your typical salad with all the fixings and heaping amounts of toppings can easily put you over 500 calories with as much fat as a Big Mac! According to Julie, the key to a better salad is to use a variety of nutrient rich and calorie-poor ingredients but set portion limits on the number of toppings.
Here's The Scoop! What you should pick, how much and why, are hey factors in building a better nutritious salad.
50 % Veggies and Grains
~Starting with about 2-3 servings of vegetables, which would be one cup for leafy greans and 1/2 cup for steamed veggies. These choices are considered freebies because they are extremely low in calories, but deliever a mega vitamin benefactor!
~Skip the plain lettuce and kick it up a a notch with spinach, kale, arugula, or sprouts. Pile on broccoli, mushrooms, cauliflower, peppers, tomatoes, onions and cucumbers.
~If you are active, you need more B vitamins, such as folic acid for cell repair that can help with repairing the tiny muscle tears caused by weightlifting. These and other antioxidants, help to speed recovery in the muscles after workouts. *Bonus: spinach and kale contain lipoic acid, an antioxidant proven to stifle the hunger pains and increase the "I'm full" hormone, leptin while also increasing energy.
~Add: 1/2 cup of whole grains.
Why? Complex carbohydrates will deliver a steady surge of energy by releasing insulin at a slower pace, keeping you feeling full longer without adding fat. Choose whole grains like protein packed quinoa, bulgar, couscous, or barley.
25% Healthy Fats
~Stay fuller longer- add monounsaturated fats!
~Choose, one tablespoon of low-fat dressing plus one ounce of aged cheese or avacado, 1/4 cup of unsalted almonds, cashews, or walnuts.
~Fact: Your body actually needs fat to help it absorb key nutrients from the vegetables such as water soluble Vitamin E , which helps in cell repair.
~Healthiest Cheese For Salads...For rich contrast in flavor and a good pairing with nuts go for feta or aged parmesan.
25% Lean Protein
~Top your salad off with 3 ounces of lean protein!
~Choose, eggs, tuna (sans mayo), turkey breast, skinless chicken breast, tofu or beans.
~Why? Pairing complex carbohydrates with lean protein can help your body better utilize the glycogen in your blood allow your body to work more efficiently throughout the day.