Make Over Your Salads

Tired of eating the same salad, day after day? Hit up your supermarket, food co-op, or the nearest farmers’ market for some fresh seasonal ingredients. Getting creative with toppings like olives, nuts, and seeds is also a great way to sneak extra nutrients into your salad bowl. Here are a few healthy alternatives to typical salad fixings that you can use to revamp your next salad:

  • Skip the iceberg lettuce and choose more nutrient-dense greens, such as baby spinach, romaine, arugula, kale, or a spring mix like mesclun. Toss one or a combination of these greens with some lemon juice, extra-virgin olive oil, salt, and freshly ground black pepper, and then shave Parmesan over the top. If you’re on Phase 2, try a Sicilian citrus and olive salad, using navel or blood orange slices and sliced kalamata olives on a bed of baby spinach. Use the same vinaigrette as above or one made with a little orange juice. Add chopped fresh herbs of your choice.


  • Grill asparagus, eggplant, zucchini, fennel, or shiitake mushrooms (use a grill topper), basting of lemon- and herb-infused extra-virgin olive oil, or simply roast them in the oven.


  • Add sliced avocado to your salad for a touch of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat (keeping in mind that they count toward your fat allowance for the day). You can also slice up a hard-boiled egg and use some capers or anchovies as an alternative to the olives.


  • Toss in grilled salmon, shrimp, or tofu, rather than the usual sliced chicken or turkey breast.


  • Garnish your salad with some chopped pecans, walnuts, or almonds, or a sprinkling of sunflower or pumpkin seeds.


  • Make your own healthy balsamic vinaigrette by whisking together balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, chopped garlic, salt, freshly ground black pepper, and fresh herbs of your choice. Drizzle in extra-virgin olive oil, to taste. Trying a new store-bought dressing is fine, too, as long as it doesn’t contain more than 3 grams of sugar per 2-tablespoon serving.

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