Can a Salad Really be a Main Course?
Salads are eaten every day in lots of households, either because people love this simple dish or because it’s a light and healthy meal option. But are salads really complete and balanced enough to be the main course of a meal?
In today’s article we’ll describe some of the key ways to make a good salad that will satisfy your nutritional needs.
One of the best advantages of eating salads is that they provide a lot of raw foods, which pack a lot of energy thanks to their high content of unprocessed nutrients. Raw foods have intact vitamins and minerals that are often lost when food is cooked at high temperatures.
But in addition to this, raw foods have another important advantage: they have a high water content as well as fiber, both of which are very satisfying.
So given this information, you can conclude that having a healthy salad on the menu isn’t just a smart choice – it helps you get your daily servings of raw foods that your body needs.
Let’s have a look at the requirements for a salad to truly be nutritious.
Lettuce forms the base ingredient of the traditional salad. This green leafy vegetable is rich in fiber and water, and it also has relaxing properties that can alleviate feelings of nervousness and anxiety.
There are many different varieties of lettuce and other green leafy vegetables available to you. The most important thing when choosing them is that they be as natural and fresh as possible before you eat them.
We recommend leaving packaged or light-colored lettuce, like the popular iceberg variety, on the shelves. These have fewer nutrients and are also difficult for the body to digest.
Instead, enjoy any kind of darker green lettuce and leafy vegetable, such as arugula, watercress, endive, spinach, and so on.
Here are some food options that you can mix and match to complete your salad, all with different health benefits:
- Carrots: good for the skin and eyesight
- Onion: highly purifying and beneficial for the kidneys
- Tomatoes: helps fight against free radicals that cause cancer
- Cabbage: high in fiber and minerals like iodine, great for hypothyroidism
- Beets: provide lots of energy and prevent anemia
- Asparagus: promotes detox and balances your pH, eliminates excess fluids
- Mushrooms and other fungi: satisfying and rich in vegetable protein
- Avocados: very nutritious and rich in protein and healthy fats
Let these ingredients challenge you to make a salad that has a variety of colors, each of them containing their own benefits.
An even more nutritious salad
In addition to preparing the multi-colored salad above, you can make it even more nutritious and suitable for breakfast if you add some of the following foods:
- Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, or flaxseed
- Nuts: walnuts, hazelnuts, or almonds
- Sprouts from alfalfa, lentils, broccoli, etc.
The ideal seasoning
The kind of seasoning you choose should be determined by the way you want your salad to taste. Then we suggest adding one of these tasty and healthy dressings:
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Apple cider vinegar (raw and unpasteurized)
You can also vary your salad with different flavor notes:
- Tahini or sesame paste
- Oregano or basil
- Garlic powder
- Fresh parsley
Beware of too much fruit
These days it’s trendy to add fruits to your salads, but you should know that depending on the fruit you choose, it could seriously impact how you digest this dish.
The best fruits to choose for salads are the neutral ones that are low in sugar and acidity, like apples and pears. Avoid overly sweet or citrus fruits, as they can begin to ferment in the stomach and actually worsen your digestive process.
In same instances you can include some pineapple and papaya, as long as the rest of the salad doesn’t contain a lot of flour or starch.
Flowers for your salad
Did you know that you can even add flowers to your salads to give them an exotic and original touch? There are plenty of edible flowers available to you, such as marigolds. Try them out!