Warm weather and fresh garden vegetables are the perfect combination for a summer salad. However, not all salads are created equally. Have you ever eaten a huge salad for lunch or dinner and felt stuffed — only to wonder why you’re starving a couple hours later? Was your salad just a big bowl of veggies? While delicious, that big bowl of veggies was probably only a mere 200 calories – more like a snack than a meal.
In order to make your summer salad more satisfying, you’ll need to go beyond vegetables alone. Protein is important. Add grilled chicken or salmon to your salad for added protein. A salad doesn’t always have to mean lettuce either. Consider pasta salad, potato salad, quinoa salad, and bean salads — either on top of your favorite salad greens, or as an alternative to the traditional salad. Additions like grains and starches will really help your salads stick with you for more than a few hours. Here are some tips to make your summer salads more satisfying:
- Beans: Add chickpeas, black beans, or whatever bean you think sounds good with your veggies to round out the salad. They’re a great combination of protein and fiber to help you feel fuller longer.
- Grains: Whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, lentils (technically a grain legume), couscous, or farro make salads more filling.
- Protein: Adding grilled chicken, salmon or even tofu provides a healthy serving of protein that will keep you going.
- Nuts: Nuts provide good unsaturated fats that fill you up. Walnuts and sliced almonds are always great, but feel free to try pecans, cashews, peanuts, pumpkin seeds or anything else that sounds interesting.
- Avocados: Don’t be shy on your avocado quantity. This heart healthy fat is full of omega-3 fatty acids. It’s great for healthy skin, hair and nails and so easily digested.
- Eggs: Boiled, fried or poached, an egg is a delicious way to make your salad more substantial. Try soft boiling them for 6 minutes so that the yolk is still gooey and can act as a dressing.