Dinner Diva: Making the perfectly balanced salad

I serve a large green salad with almost every meal, and this is the time of year I love most, thanks to all of the gorgeous fresh spring greens and vegetables!

Since I have this salad thing down to a science, I thought I’d share some tips with y’all as to how to make amazing, balanced, and beautiful salads for your lunches and dinners.

Now, this might be news to you, but if you love your salads drenched in those bottled dressings, we need to stage an intervention. Go to the fridge, check those labels, and if there are words on there that you don’t use in daily conversation, throw the bottles away. Pouring GMO-laden sauces on your salad doesn’t benefit your body one little bit, and making your own dressings is easy and much more affordable.

So now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about the four key components to the perfectly balanced salad, which are: lettuce, vegetables, protein, and fat.

Lettuce. I wrote a post a few days ago about spring greens. Your greens are what hold everything together. I don’t care which one you choose, but I tend to use a variety of different greens like spinach, kale, arugula, and frisee. Go ahead and experiment, or just eat what you grow in your own garden! There are so many nutrients in salad greens. If you use spinach, you get a bowl full of iron and calcium. Endive is also full of these minerals. Never mind the high amounts of vitamins A and C you’ll be pumping into your body with green stuff. Just remember: Lettuces are always found on the Dirty Dozen list, so buy organic.

Vegetables. At this time of year, you’ll want to put lots of spring veggies in your salads. I love broccoli or radish sprouts and pea shoots on top of a garden salad for all of their great energizing enzymes! I also love to use what’s in season, so this time of year, I tend to use asparagus and radishes in my salads. The lettuce provides you with lots of fiber, but the veggies give you even more! Spring veggies also tend to be loaded with antioxidants. They’ll help fill you up, too. And they add color if you use bright carrots and bell peppers!

Protein. Put some lean protein into your salad, whether it’s chicken breast (preferably organic), a boiled egg (free-range if possible), shrimp, or some salmon (wild-caught pacific, please). That protein will keep you feeling satisfied. It will also go to work in your bodybuilding tissue and muscles. Very important!

Fat. Here’s where I remind you again to not use those bottled dressings. They don’t count. Try a simple drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. For even more beneficial fat, try some avocado (sliced or pureed into a sauce) or toss a handful of walnuts or some olives on there.

With that, you have an absolutely perfect salad. But if you want to be a bit more wild and exciting, toss in a few cranberries, some quinoa, or chickpeas in there, depending on what you like. Goat cheese is nice for a treat once in a while, too.

What’s your favorite salad? Let us know on our Facebook page!

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