How to build the perfect salad

How to build the perfect salad

Salads are a fantastic way to get at least four servings of vegetables a day. As a vegetarian of three decades, turned vegan, they’re a daily staple for me. Today I’m sharing tips to help you build a nutrition-packed salad that will have you coming back for more.

  1. Start with some lettuce, choosing reds or dark greens (stay away from iceberg lettuce and other light ‘greens’). Add some kale, arugula or spring mix for some added antioxidants and beta-carotene.
  2. Add a little crunch with cucumbers (vitamin C), celery (vitamin A), edamame beans (iron and vitamin c), walnuts (niacin and protein), sunflower seeds (fibre and protein), alfalfa sprouts (antioxidants), purple cabbage (vitamins A & C), and/or broccolli (vitamin C).
  3. Toss in some colour! Add some green, red or yellow pepper slices, pomegranate seeds, avocado, red onion, and/or tomatoes.
  4. Add some protein. Chick peas, lentils, black beans and either tempeh or cubed tofu are my favorites, but those who eat animal protein can also add tuna or salmon, chicken, and hard-boiled eggs.
  5. Pop in some fruit. I like to add fresh berries or apple or pear slices to my salads. Other options include orange sections, mango, sliced nectarine, and dried fruits like unsweetened cranberries or a tablespoon of raisins.
  6. Before you dress your salad, add final touches like artichoke pieces, olives and sliced mushrooms – even leftovers in the fridge like sweet potatoes, asparagus and green beans make excellent additions.
  7. Dress it up with a squirt of lemon or lime,  or a combination of balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

Whether as an appetizer, side, or full meal, salads can pack some serious nutrition punch. Experiment week to week with different combinations.

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A marketing communications professional with over 25 years of experience and a fitness instructor/trainer of three decades, Catherine has inspired thousands of Canadians to lead active, healthy lives. Catherine lives in Toronto and has two daughters, ages 21 and 18. Visit Catherine's website