4 tips to build an energy-boosting power salad

Published on July 21 2011 - 3:34 PM
4 tips to build an energy-boosting power salad
4 Must-Have Healthy Salad Ingredients

Between my community-supported agriculture share and my small container-gardening project, I have enough salad greens to feed a small army. Luckily, my husband and I love digging into salads for dinner. And not just as a starter or a side dish, but as our main meal. The trick is building a satisfying salad that won’t have us searching for a snack an hour after we eat dinner. Here are 4 tricks to building a salad packed with staying power.

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Step 1: Build Your Base.
Pile your plate with 1 to 2 cups of lettuce per serving. (Greens are full of fiber, which helps digestion.) Combine different types to balance textures and flavors. Try tender, mild Boston lettuce with crisp romaine and bold escarole.
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Step 2: Load It Up with Veggies.
Add plenty of vegetables for crunch, flavor and color. The more colors of vegetables you add, the more disease-fighting nutrients you get. For example, foods in the blue/purple/deep red range, such as radishes and eggplant, provide anthocyanins and proanthocyanidins, which are associated with keeping the heart and brain functioning well.
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Step 3: Give It Staying Power.
Studies show eating protein helps you feel full longer to get you through the afternoon, so add lean chicken, ham, turkey, fish or beans. Also include starches, such as potatoes, brown rice, whole-wheat croutons or whole-wheat pasta, all of which add nutrients and staying power.

Step 4: Don’t Forget the Dressing!
Fats in the dressing make it easier for you to absorb fat-soluble nutrients like lycopene in tomatoes and lutein and zeaxanthin in yellow and green veggies, including corn and zucchini. Plus, when you make your own vinaigrette you can opt for olive or canola oil.

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What do you put in your power salad?

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Carolyn Malcoun combines her love of food and writing as a recipe contributor for EatingWell. Carolyn has a culinary arts degree from New England Culinary Institute and a degree in journalism from University of Wisconsin—Madison. Carolyn lives in Burlington, Vermont, and enjoys cooking, gardening, hiking and running in her free time.