How to Build a Salad

Do you like eating salad?

According to my highly unscientific research, there are two types of people who don’t like to eat salad:

  1. Those who think eating salad is boring.
  2. Those who think that salad isn’t filling enough for a full meal.
  3. Ok, one more… those who don’t like eating vegetables!

If you fall into one of the first two categories, I’m here to tell you that maybe… just maybe… you’ve been making salads wrong.

I know. People don’t like to be told that what they’ve been doing is wrong (I don’t like to be told that either) but I can guarantee you that salads can be fun and filling and it’s all in how we put them together.

Today I’m going to share with you how to make the perfect salad just for you.

How to Make a Salad More Fun:

Many people think eating salad is kind of boring. Are you one of those people?

A typical boring salad is iceberg lettuce, red cherry tomatoes, perhaps some cucumber and grated carrot.

Some sort of bottled Italian or fluorescent orange french dressing would to go on top.

We can do so much more to jazz up a salad and my favourite way to do this is to think of your salad bowl like a rainbow.

When you add the colours of the rainbow to your salad bowl it’s visually more appealing to eat.

Here are my favourite ingredients to add to a salad to make it brighter and more interesting:

  • Arugula
  • Kale
  • Purple cabbage
  • Radicchio
  • Multicoloured heirloom carrots
  • Red and yellow cherry tomatoes
  • Red peppers
  • Grated beets (yes you can eat beets raw!)
  • Red onion
  • Green onion
  • Edible flowers!

The sky is the limit in terms of the colourful foods you can add to a salad.

Not only will you feel more energized by your colourful bowl (and you’ll want to eat it), you’ll be more energized because each of those colourful vegetables has its own set of nutrients that our bodies love and crave. 

Colourful produce = Energy!

How to Make a Salad More Filling.

I get very sad when I see people show up to work with a little salad in a little square or rectangle container.

Typically they have a sad look on their face because they’re on a ‘diet’ and ‘have’ to eat a boring old salad of greens and cherry tomatoes.

100 bucks that person is starving in less than an hour.

I have zero doubt that’s why salad gets such a bad rap when it comes to ‘dieting’.

Some people think they need to eat a sad little salad to lose weight. After they eat the salad, they will most likely find they’re hungry in an hour and then they might start to crave and fall for the crappy foods they’ve been trying to avoid.

It’s a bit of a cycle and that’s why dieting doesn’t work (in my opinion).

In order for a salad to be filling (or any food you’re eating for that matter!) it has to include more than just vegetables.

Here are the main elements needed to make a salad filling:

Simply by incorporating those three elements into a salad, you can be satiated for hours! Yes hours!

Here is how to build a salad for one person using those elements listed above:

1. The biggest portion of the bowl should be greens. They can be any type of greens, but make them interesting.

I like to add mixed greens with kale or romaine. Add at least two cups or two big handfuls of greens to the bowl (I use a pasta bowl).

Depending on the greens being used, you will already be covering a lot of your nutritional bases.

For example, a salad based with kale will have fibre, carbohydrates and protein.

2. Top the greens with a few other vegetables like a mix of the colourful ones I mentioned above.

In the salad pictured, I added a handful of yellow cherry tomatoes, half a cucumber, a half a cup of shredded purple cabbage and about a quarter of a cup of red peppers.

As of right now, this bowl is filled with lots of fibre (and carbohydrates). For a few extra carbs you could add some roasted sweet potato.

3. Here’s where the salad starts to change so that it will keep you full: you need to add protein!

Yes! Please add protein to your salads.

I like to add organic chicken or wild salmon. If you’re vegetarian, add chickpeas or lentils. We need protein in our salads to keep us satiated.

4. Last but not least, we need to add fat!

Please don’t fear fats, just choose fats well. Our brains need high-quality fats to work well.

To this colourful salad I’ve added about a quarter of an avocado and a four olives. You’ll also get fat from your salad dressing (more on that below).

Bonuses: I love to add some crunch to my salads so I’ll add some walnuts (more healthy brain fats) or pumpkin seeds (amazing for fat and iron).

Add hemp seeds for more Omega-3 fats and chopped almonds for fat and protein.

If I have sprouts, I will add those. Sprouts are full of protein and packed with other nutrients that our bodies love. Goat cheddar cheese is also a nice addition to a salad now and then.

Kimchi is a great addition to any salad because it adds fermented vegetables to your diet.

In terms of dressing, you can go wild with that too. Here is a fantastic graphic to show you how to build a salad dressing.

Lately I’ve been keeping my dressing simple by squeezing a half of a lemon over my salad and topping it with a glug of extra virgin olive oil and salt. Easy peasy and delicious.

I eat a salad like this at least three times a week for lunch and I can tell you I am not hungry again until dinner.

Why is that important? Because when 3 p.m. rolls around I’m no longer craving that chocolate bar from the vending machine or a coffee like I used to back in the good ‘ol days.

Our bodies need to have balance in order to be happy.

If our blood sugar is constantly going up and down and up and down all day, our systems will be in flux and we’ll never be fully satisfied (and it may start to wreak havoc on hormones too).

I hope this helps you make a fantastically delicious salad next time you want something to eat!

More posts like this:

How to Add More Greens to Your Meals
How to Know You’re Getting Enough Nutrients
How Eating Real Food Can Help Us Achieve Better Health

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