For a salad that’s bursting with flavour and nutrients, follow these three rules. By Estelle Low
Learn to pick the right salad ingredients. Photo: Olha Afanasieva / www.123rf.com
You may be having salad lunches five times a week, but it doesn’t mean that you’re getting enough nutrients, like fibre, protein and carbs. In fact, you might even be overloading on fat! To help you build a healthier salad, we asked Vanessa McNamara, founder of The Travelling Dietitian, and freelance dietitian Mah Wai Yee to dish out their best tips. Bear these in mind the next time you’re at the salad bar.
When choosing salad ingredients, look for… Balance
Don’t eliminate carbohydrates or protein as they make the meal more nutritious and satisfying. Each salad should comprise 50 per cent veggies (two cups), 25 per cent lean protein (100g or a palm-sized portion) and 25 per cent wholegrain carbs (half a cup). Good sources of carbs include quinoa, couscous and soba noodles. For protein, opt for chickpeas, tofu, grilled chicken or fish.
When choosing salad ingredients, look for… Variety
The more colourful your salad, the better off you are. Aim for at least five colours to get more antioxidants: green (such as spinach and rocket leaves), white (onions), blue/purple (berries), red (capsicum) and orange/yellow (carrot). Remember to vary your combinations each time!
When choosing salad ingredients, look for… Moderation
Creamy dressings and toppings like avocado, cheese and nuts can pile on the calories. Limit yourself to two tablespoons of dressing. As for high-fat ingredients, keep to a handful of nuts and four small cubes of avocado or cheese that amount to 30g. If you’re watching your weight, don’t exceed one tablespoon of oil per meal.