How Can a Salad Possibly Be Unhealthy?!

Does ‘unhealthy salad’ sound like an oxymoron to you?

It’s easy to be deceived when it comes to healthy eating, especially since we are often taught that salads are the healthiest choice on the menu, but I’m going to break it to you that not all salads are created equal!

Salads like taco, caesar or cobb are served with heavy creamy dressings and are topped off with either more cheese, processed croutons and artificial bacon bits. Empty calories in these types of salads can add up to a whopping 1300 calories!  (Keep in mind a BIG MAC has 540 calories!)

When it comes to dressings it’s important to avoid heavy creamy dressings as well as “low-fat” or “fat-free” dressings when possible.  Sugar, “unknown” flavors or other added flavors including MSG and preservatives are often added to make low fat options taste good. While the dressing may be “low fat”, 2 tablespoons of creamy dressing can contain 2 teaspoons of refined sugar. When in doubt ask for lemon slices and olive oil instead.

A few tips to guarantee a nutrient dense, clean and healthy salad:

  • Use all organic ingredients or exercise the clean 15 dirty dozen guide
  • Choose dark leafy greens or romaine versus iceberg lettuce which contain the least nutrients.
  • Simply adding an avocado to your salad will act as a filling ingredient as well as give you that delicious creamy texture. Avocados also help to boost your metabolism, increase brain function and keep you feeling fuller longer.

Eat the rainbow

  • the brighter the colors the more antioxidants and phytonutrients (plant nutrients)
  • Try to consume 2 to 3 different colors of vegetables
  • Top with fresh herbs for added nutrients and taste

BUILDING YOUR SALAD:

The base of your salad should be dark leafy greens and raw to lightly steamed vegetables plus 1-2 options below:

PROTEIN OPTIONS:

  • black beans
  • kidney beans
  • white beans
  • lentils
  • sesame seeds
  • hemp seeds
  • flax seeds
  • chia seeds
  • pumpkin seeds
  • Organic Salmon or Chicken

GOOD FATS:

  • Avocado
  • Raw nuts
  • Raw oils (olive, avocado, coconut, sesame, flax)

 GRAINS AND STARCHY VEGETABLES:

  • quinoa
  • Squash
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Yams

SUPER EASY LEMON TAHINI DRESSING

  • Juice of 1/2 -1 whole lemon – depending how lemony you like it.
  • Add filtered water to facilitate blending as needed.
  • 2 -3 Tbsp. tahini
  • 1 small clove garlic minced
  • Himalayan salt to taste
  • *add avocado to make extra creamy treat

Throw all ingredients into a blender and keep in the fridge for up to 5 days to have a delicious dressing ready to go!

RACHELLE’S FAVE SALAD:

  • Bed of organic mixed dark leafy greens
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • 1 avocado
  • Dulse – excellent source of iron for vegetarians (adds a salty flavor to salad)
  • Lightly steamed broccoli
  • RawFoodz poppy or Miso dressing or  homemade tahini dressing