Better Eating Habits: 6 Smart Salad Hacks
Salad is thought of better eating habits but often count as boring. However, done right, salad is anything but boring! Salads can be thrown together in hundreds of different ways and can be customized to appeal to even the pickiest of eaters. For better eating habits, to make the process of making a tasty salad easier, here are 6 smart tips on how to make the best salad ever!
1. Better eating habits: Educate Yourself About Greens
Variety is great, but when it comes to salad greens, there are often too many choices to pick from. Within the lettuce category alone there are a handful of choices: butter, romaine, iceberg, oakleaf, and leaf lettuce.
Butter lettuce has a subtle buttery and creamy taste. The lettuce is green-yellow in color and slightly crunchy.
Romaine lettuce is arguably the king of salad lettuces. It has a dark green color and stronger flavor.
Iceberg lettuce has a mild taste as it’s full of water (hence its name). It has a light green and white coloring and can be both crispy and soft.
Oakleaf lettuce gets its name from its oakleaf-like shape. It typically has a sweet, mild taste.
Leaf lettuce is commonly identified by its colors: green-leaf, or red-leaf. It’s leaves have frilly edges, and a crisp bite to them.
Lettuce is an important part of any salad, as its most often the base for the whole dish. Mix things up a bit and choose a lettuce type that best suits your taste or your salad’s other flavors.
2. Pick the Right Salad Dressing
There are hundreds of different salad dressings to choose from. Whether you pick a bottled dressing or a home-made vinaigrette, there are tons of variations. A creamy Ceasar salad dressing is good for salads with potent greens or bitter ingredients, and fruit-infused dressings are good for salads that don’t have a lot of bite. Although tasty, some creamy store-bought dressings can defeat the purpose of eating a salad. Sometimes, the dressing you buy will have more calories and fat than the rest of your salad. To remedy this, make homemade dressings. If you don’t want to wash extra dishes, try to use less dressing for each bowl of salad.
3. Be Creative with Additives
Now to the most creative part of salad building: the additives. Additives can range from other vegetables, to fruit, to eggs, and all the way to meat. Popular vegetable additives are kale, carrot, cucumber, parsley, radish, bell peppers, beets, tomatoes, and spinach. A good rule of thumb when it comes to additives is the rule that for each salad, you should include two other vegetables. You can have fun with fruit as well! Try adding pineapple, oranges, apples, strawberries and blueberries. Protein within a salad is also a plus, so consider adding things like cooked chicken and turkey, and eggs. To garnish, go nuts! Literally. Nuts have protein and good fats that your body needs, not to mention that they’re a great tasting addition to any salad.
4. Think Texture
When you’re putting together your salad, think about texture. Food is much more fun when it has a variety of textures, and the same is true for salads. Experiment with pairing crunchy and soft, bumpy and smooth and so on.
5. Better Eating Habits: Use the Whole Vegetable
One motto to go by is, “if it grows together, it goes together”. This, when referring to vegetables, means that the whole vegetable should be used in the salad. Be creative for better eating habits and find ways to use carrot tops, celery stems, and beet greens in your salad. They are cheap, helping your food budget last, and are certainly healthy. Throwing these parts out wastes part of a perfectly good vegetable, and by throwing them out, you’re missing out on the minerals and vitamins that are found in that part of the vegetable. The parts that would normally be discarded can also be good when you’re thinking about texture because most of the time, they have a unique texture.
6. Perfect Presentation
Part of what makes the best food good is how it looks. As much as we like to say that it doesn’t matter how our dinner looks as long as it tastes good, it usually isn’t true. Part of what makes food appetizing is how it’s presented. To make a salad pleasant to look at, get creative with colors. Utilize bright greens, yellows, reds, and oranges of fresh fruit and vegetables. If your bowl of salad looks pretty, you’ll be more inclined to eat it!
Salads can be fun (to create and to eat) if you know how to build a salad the right way. Using the tips highlighted above, you’ll be able to create thousands of tasty salads and enjoy each and every bite!