We’re one month into the new year. How’s your resolutions holding up? Are you still eating healthier meals? Have you added more salads to your diet? Making healthier choices is the way to go, but beware; just because it’s a salad doesn’t mean it’s a low calorie meal. Some restaurants have salads on their menus that are over 1,500 calories! For many, that’s more that their daily calorie count.

Many Americans eat salads at least three times a week. If you’re among those making salads at home, make smart choices; add healthy ingredients and toppings.

Nuts and Fruit

Salads with fresh or dried fruit and nuts can create the perfect combination of sweet and savory. Dried cranberries are the perfect addition to a simple salad. You can also tried adding dried apricots to a salad of greens and grilled chicken. A salad of dark greens, thinly sliced apple, crunchy pecans, and grilled chicken is a delicious meal by any standards. 

To ensure that you are not consuming too much sugar, look out for dried fruits that only have the fruit mentioned as the main ingredient. Some manufacturers tend to add sugar to make them sweeter. You still need to be mindful of your calorie count and make low calorie choices.

Hard-Boiled Eggs

Eggs are one of the most nutritious foods on earth. A typical large egg contains essential vitamins and minerals such as calcium, potassium, zinc, vitamin D and more. Eggs are an excellent source of protein. Studies suggest that eggs also make it easier for your body to absorb carotenoids, which are fat-soluble nutrients that help in reducing inflammation. Remember; your diet should include healthy proteins to help keep you feeling fuller longer. 

To make the perfect hard boiled egg, place your eggs in a pan and cover with cool water. Bring to a boil cover and turn the burner off. Let the eggs sit in the pan with a lid for 13 minutes. Then run under cold water and peel. Using the oldest eggs in your fridge to boil. They will peel easier than fresher eggs.

Avocado

There’s more to avocado than great flavor. Avocado is among the healthiest fats you can consume. They are high in potassium, fiber, and folate. Sliced and added to a salad gives a nice creamy texture that compliments the crunchy greens. You can even create a twist on traditional Green goddess dressing by adding avocado. 

Of course a traditional taco salad isn’t complete without a dollop of guacamole. Just be sure to use lean ground beef, chicken, or even ground turkey in your salad to keep the calories low.

Cheese

Cheese is a somewhat standard topping for most salads. The next time you make a salad, consider something other than grated cheddar. Crumbly cheeses like feta offer a nice creamy tangy topping. A salad with dark greens, sliced strawberries, and a good ricotta cheese crumble combine for a sweet and rich flavor. Parmigiano isn’t only for pastas. It can be added to your salads for a delicious nutty, salty flavor. And for a Mexican zing add Cotija to your salad of grilled chicken, olives, greens, and avocado slices.

The bottom line is salads are a good healthy choice for meals as long as you don’t load them down with high calorie dressings and toppings.

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