Salads are an easy way to get more fruits and vegetables, but they also can be a one-bowl solution to a filling, nutritionally well-rounded meal. Certainly, you can have your salad on the side, but why not enjoy a colourful, easy to prepare meal full of diverse textures, flavours and even temperatures? It’s a great way to use up leftovers too!
Here are some ideas to make healthy, meal-sized salads:
- Start with leaf greens. Remember the darker the green, the more nutrients.
- Add raw or cooked vegetables such as peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, mushrooms, carrots, onions, cabbage, zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower… Vegetables are full of fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Or add fruit such as seasonal berries, apple or pear slices, grilled peaches or nectarines or dried cranberries.
- Bring in whole grains such as barley or quinoa or starchy vegetables such as sweet potatoes. These provide more fibre and complex carbohydrates to fill you up. Beans, lentils and chickpeas add fibre and complex carbohydrates too and the added bonus of plant-based proteins. All great choices.
- Add a hard-boiled egg, sliced cheese, cottage cheese or a serving of beef, chicken breast, pork, turkey or fish for protein and to make the meal complete.
- Throw in some toasted nuts or seeds for protein and healthy fats plus an added crunch.
- Finish it off with a homemade salad dressing featuring heart-healthy canola oil and other Canadian ingredients such as honey, maple syrup and mustard. Check out this article on how to make your own simple vinaigrette.