Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Making a Salad a “Real-Deal” Meal

You know? I can’t remember eating any salads as a kid (unless you count potato salad)! No, I was raised by serious carnivores. But now, rather than relegate this green dish to appetizer or side dish status, I’ve become rather fond of making a salad the main attraction to an extraordinary meal. Not only does it provide a variety of different vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients, a salad is quick, & easy.
To prove this point, I’ve listed a few tips that I use to make my dinner a bit “greener.”

Meat, Please: Traditional salads are rather meatless creations, but a little protein goes a long way toward packing more punch to your meal. From shrimp to chicken, steak to tofu, you can use any protein you like. Just remember not to overload your salad with meat. After all, it's a salad first and foremost, so greens and veggies should be the mainstay.

If you’re not a meat eater, simply toss in some of your favorite meat substitute. The protein will help you feel full and contribute to your muscular health.

Color it Up: In my book, lettuce alone does not a salad make. To give my salad more oomph, I add some extra color at every chance. Adding tomatoes, onions, corn, peppers, radishes, and carrots can seem typical. So sometimes I’ll add hard-boiled egg, goat cheese, and almonds into the color mix.

And don't forget about blueberries, grapes, avocados, strawberries, oranges, and apples! Not only do these veggie/fruit combinations increase the aesthetic beauty of my big, bad salad, but they add to the flavor and variety of nutrients, too.

Dress Well: Now sometimes I give in to the temptation to let a store-bought salad dressing finish off my creation, but when I want to make sure the effort I put into my salad pays off fully - I do a little research.

There are a variety of fantastic recipes on the internet that are easy to whip together and that add to the unique variety of foods in my salad.

While I’ll admit that the concept of “dinner salad” eluded me for quite a while, that is certainly not the case anymore. In fact, when I am a little short on time, I’ll admit to having Jason’s Deli create dinner for me (my favorite is the “mixed up nutty chicken salad”). It’s healthy, gorgeous, delicious and best of all – ready to eat. : )

Until next time – Live Life Well,

John Aaron Villarreal
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