How to create the perfect salad

Salads can help to cleanse, alkalize and reduce inflammation in the body. Creating the perfect salad is all about the variety and balance of ingredients that you choose.

When we consume salads regularly, we get the benefit of additional enzymes, fiber, macronutrients (a good balance of beneficial fats, high quality protein and low glycemic carbohydrates and micronutrients (vitamins, minerals and antioxidants).

My favorite tips on how to create the perfect salad:

Pick your base

Dark leafy greens are the base of any salad. There is a large variety of leafy greens to choose from such as; kale, baby spinach, arugula, lettuce and more. Don’t be shy with the leafy greens, I consume at least one to two cups of dark leafy greens per meal.

Add more veggies

Bulk up your salad with roasted veggies like sweet potato, carrots and beets. These add a source of low- glycemic carbohydrates to the salads and helps to keep you fuller for longer too.

Pick your protein

Protein is essential for proper blood sugar balance and contains essential amino acids to help repair and protect the muscle. Rotate the protein sources to create variety in the diet.

I love eating plant based salads for lunch. My protein comes from quinoa, beans such as chickpeas or lentils and sometimes GMO free tofu.

Add in some fruit

This is entirely up to you as fruits contain extra sugar, however are loaded with antioxidants. I like to add fruits like berries and pomegranates to my salad for that extra little sweetness and pop of colour.

Crunchy goodness

Try a few raw sprouted or dry roasted nuts and seeds for a little crunchy texture. I like to gently toast the seeds beforehand and sprinkle the over my salad as a garnish.

Pick a healthy fat

No perfect salad is complete without some health- enhancing fats. I enjoy nutrient dense whole foods such as wild salmon, eggs, nuts and seeds, olives and avocado. Fat is wonderful for satiety and blood sugar control and fat adds flavour. Fats also helps with fat – soluble vitamins including A, D, E and K.

Add in some natural pre and probiotic rich foods

Foods that are naturally rich in pre-biotics include;
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Artichokes
  • Raw honey
  • Tomatoes
  • Asparagus
  • Leeks
Probiotic food sources include;
  • Kefir
  • Yogurt
  • Buttermilk
  • Sauerkraut
  • Pickled veggies

Chose a healthy vinaigrette

A simple vinaigrette can help to add flavour without adding all the unnecessary fats and richness of a dressing. I like to keep it simple and sweet, one of my favorite dressings include;

  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. Balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Gently toss it all together (leaving out the crunchy components) pour over the dressing and garnish with your crunchy element and enjoy.

Side note

Everyone’s health history and nutritional needs are different, please ensure you get advice about the right diet and exercise plan that is right for you.

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About the author

Qualified chef, Health Coach and Nutritionist based in Johannesburg & Cape Town, South Africa

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