As long as you’re eating salad, it has to be healthy, right? Not so fast. Building a balanced salad takes more skill than you might think. After all, how do you suss out the perfect amount of protein to put in your bowl, or the best dressing to toss it with? In this video, we’ll highlight the most common salad mistakes people make, plus easy solutions for each.
- Too little or too much protein: Opting for chicken, cheese, or a hard-boiled egg is a good option, but if you go for all three at once, you’ve probably gone too far. But only loading your bowl with veggies can leave you hungry later. Adding protein to your meals is key, since it helps boost satiety, rev metabolism, and build muscle. Add a half-cup of lentils or beans or 3 ounces of lean meat or seafood to your salad. If you’re more in the mood for dairy, try a half-cup of cottage cheese or one whole organic egg along with three egg whites.
- Not enough veggie variety: Think beyond romaine. Opting for a wider range of veggies in your salad (think: a mix of greens, tomatoes, cabbage, peppers, and onions) could reduce your risk of certain cancers and delay aging processes in the body.
- Too little or too much fat: Don’t be afraid of fat: The right kinds can help to reduce inflammation in the body and keep you feeling full for longer. Opt for good-for-you dressings made from extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and your favorite spices, and steer clear of fat-free versions. Another way to add fat to your salad? Top it with sliced avocado or a handful of nuts; both add texture and flavor.
- Skipping starch: Add whole grains to the mix for a hit of energy-revving carbs. Our favorites include a third- or half-cup of quinoa, corn, or roasted potatoes. The starch will help you feel satisfied and sustained.
- Not enough seasoning: Is there anything worse than a boring salad? Bump up the flavor profile by adding fresh herbs like basil, cilantro, or mint, or pre-seasoned ingredients like pesto-roasted veggies or spicy guacamole.