We are heading into salad season, and as the old Simpsons quote goes, “you don’t make friends with salad”. Well, how wrong they were! Salads do not have to be bland and boring, or leaving you still feeling hungry. In fact, the best salads are tasty, full of texture and will leave you feeling full all afternoon, until it’s time for the next (different) salad.
Here are the five steps to build a filling salad that still comes in under 350 Calories:
1. Load up on leaves. 1 cup of baby spinach gives 10 calories, and another ½ cup of red cabbage is 14 calories. If you wish, you can always sub in ½ cup of iceberg lettuce, which will only give 2 calories per ½ cup.
2. Add other veggies. Be it any mix of capsicum, carrot, cucumber, beetroot, sprouts, celery, tomato (or any other salad veggie you enjoy), adding in another 1-1 ½ cups of these will add colour, texture and nutrients to your salad (not to mention the flavour!). Pending your mix, this will add in approx. 50-70 calories. For the purpose of this, I calculated with 3 cherry tomatoes, 3 slices beetroot, ½ Lebanese cucumber and 1 small carrot (total 61 cal)
3. Add a source of carbs. One of my favourites is chickpeas, with only 92 calories in a ½ cup. These are also a great source of fibre and protein, making them particularly slow digesting for great lasting energy.
4. Add a source of protein. A super handy option for your lunch time salad is canned tuna, and at only 113 calories it makes a great choice as is also rich in omega 3. Other great choices of protein include salmon, eggs, chicken, meat, lentils, black beans, tofu or hemp seeds.
5. Add some fat. Be it nuts, avo or extra virgin olive oil, adding some healthy fats to the mix will help slow digestion, leaving you full all afternoon. For this salad, I’ve added ¼ small avocado, which provides 52 calories.
Total? 342 calories, 23g carbohydrate, 14g fibre, 26g protein.
Looking for some salad recipe ideas? You need to try this grilled pineapple and teriyaki chicken salad, and this zoodle and mushroom salad that impress your vegetarian friends.
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