How to Build a Healthy Salad!
Just in time to take advantage of nature's bounty of fresh fruits, vegetables and greens this season! Fiorella has released her newest Living in Italian recipe e-book: Salads of Southern Italy where Fiorella shares her favorite salads from her hometown right outside Naples. Using her fool-proof method, you'll never have a sad salad again! It takes a few key components that you can adjust to your taste and what is season. The foundation of any salad includes: base greens + fiber + protein.
How to Build a Healthy Salad:
Choose your base salad greens. Choose the dark, leafy greens like kale, spinach, or a mix of mesclun greens which are a little more nutrient dense and full of plant-based iron, needed for energy, boosting your immune system and blood circulation.
Fill your salad with more fiber and texture. Remember foods rich in fiber will keep you satisfied, and support heart health, blood sugar and weight management. Any vegetable or fruit will add additional fiber, but other sources of fiber include whole grains, beans and legumes.
Beans and legumes have the added bonus of protein, which will also keep you satisfied and keep you full, as well as add texture to the salad.
For added texture, cruciferious vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts are a favorite since they come shredded like a coleslaw and provide antioxidants (quercetin) for protection and boosting your immune system.
Another Italian staple that goes well in any salad are artichoke hearts which is a great source of fiber, specifically insoluble fiber which aids in optimal digestion, keeps your regular, and is helpful with weight management.
Use a flavorful dressing. A favorite is Fiorella's Lemon Salad Dressing . Not only will this dressing add flavor, but the Vitamin C in the lemon juice will help your body use the plant-based iron in your dark leafy greens! But any other low-fat salad dressing will do the job as well
Add a pop of color and flavor with fruit. Salads aren't only reserved for vegetables and greens, fruits are perfect to add a bright flavor and color. They will add fiber and a variety of antioxidants to your salads. Some common fruits to try in your salad are berries (especially strawberry paired with balsamic vinegar), peaches, pineapple, melon--the possibilities are endless!
Choose a filling protein. Just like fiber, protein will fill you up and will turn a sad salad into a filling meal. Any lean protein will be a perfect addition to your salad, favorites include chicken, tuna, salmon, steak, or even add more plant-based protein found in beans and legumes.
For more tips on building healthy salads and to try some of Fiorella's favorite salads from her hometown in Southern Italy, get her new recipe e-book Living in Italian: Salads of Southern Italy available on Amazon.