A witty anonymous quote says,” It takes four men to dress a salad: a wise man for the salt, a madman for the pepper, a miser for the vinegar, and a spendthrift for the oil.”
‘I really couldn’t agree more with whoever said that. Salads are no less than a staple food for people who want to stay fit & loose on those extra calories. But not all salads are made in the same way. People will end up incapacitating the salad by adding heavy toppings like fried chicken and high fat cheese to what otherwise would have been a healthy salad. Especially we Indians have a habit of adding anything spicy or chatpata to add taste to the normally tasteless traditional salads 😛
However, following this practice on a regular basis will end up making us gain more calories than lose the already unwanted ones.
A few alterations to our daily salad can turn it into a tasty meal without any cause of worry to those weight watchers & fitness freaks out there!! Here are few tips to consider while making the perfect bowl of salad without your husband or kids having to throw aside the boring plate of just greens:-
1) Fresh = Fitness
Nothing can substitute fresh vegetables & fruits. It is considered to be a major destructive step not using fresh vegetables & fruits opting for other alternatives like canned food instead while preparing your salad. You loose out on the natural nutrients available in the fresher ingredients. Not only that but you tend to gain calories consuming the syrups used to store these canned food as these syrups mostly get soaked up within the food inside. to Utilize the freshest available options. You have to use your greens to be fresh and fruit to be ripe. Just getting fresh food is not enough. Storing them is even more important. Make sure you store all your salad ingredients in the correct zone (amongst cold, moderate & humid) in the refrigerator.
2) Green is Good
A Salad without any green is obviously of no use since only the greeniest of all vegetables & herbs have the maximum nutritional value. Did you know iceberg lettuce (light green in color shaped like a cabbage) has almost no nutritional value? It really makes no sense to have something in your salad which won’t give you enough nutrition. It will fill up your stomach without giving you any energy. Instead it’s better to switch to other variety of darker greens like spinach, broccoli, kale, parsley etc which are rich in vitamins A, C & K.
3) Play with Proteins
Play & experiment with your proteins enough to know which add flavor to your salad without adding the undesirable calories, cholesterol, sodium, and fat. Many people will make a healthy salad but with the motive of adding slight taste to the otherwise dull & tasteless salad they will end up topping it up with deep fried chicken strips or paneer. Skip these fatty toppings & instead opt for grilled chicken or paneer. Keep switching them with other sources of proteins like tofu, kidney beans, chick peas, hard boiled eggs, oats etc. Make sure you have chick peas & kidney beans only once/twice a week as excess of these can cause bloating & gas in some people more than others.
4) Be Cheesy
It is really important for your salad to have a healthy proportion of all nutrients including fats. That does not mean you load on with the cheese. Just opt for a low fats cheese. A simple change from your shredded cheddar cheese to feta crumbles can cut most of the calories as it has 30% less calories & 1/3rd less fat compared to cheddar cheese without you having to sacrifice the ‘oh so addicting taste’. If you don’t like cheese, you can choose yogurt instead.
5) Go Nuts!!
Along with being a tasty & crunchy fulfilling snack, nuts serve a great purpose in salads as well. Adding few nuts like walnuts, pistachios & almonds in your salad will be enough to fill your stomach at the same time will provide you fibre & omega-3 fats. The best of all nuts to use is almonds as it contains calcium, magnesium & potassium (as these minerals are rarely available in any food together). Plus they say it’s good for improving memory due to some acids available only in almonds!!
6) Dress to Impress
Pizza Hut & other pizza restaurants have an amazing option of charging the salad according to the number of plates but not according to quantities filled in those plates individually. Obviously we Indians have the habit of stocking up these plates full like a plateau (in some cases a pyramid 😛 ) Not only do we stock up on the salad but also on the dressings which though very tasty are loaded with calories. A homemade dressing using a squeeze of citrus fruit along with a sprinkle of herbs (my fav is oregano) & a few drops of oil (preferably olive) & vinegar will be a smarter healthier option.
7) Likes & Dislikes make a pair
Your perfect healthy salad should be a mixture of your likes & dislikes. In my case, I love tomatoes but absolutely dislike the green leafy vegetables so while taking every bite of my salad I will make sure I have both tomatoes and the leafy vegetables so that the taste of tomato & its juice lingers on the leaf making it a little easier for me to digest. I recommend everyone to follow this tip as it works without you having to give up on the taste or nutrients.