Filling your diet with fruits and vegetables is a healthy habit, but it isn’t always the easiest thing to do when you first get started.
Finding ways to add more fruits and vegetables into your daily routine can be daunting– and even sound “boring” – but there are lots of ways to make it easier and even a little exciting! This includes your sweet treats and party dishes!
With the hot summer weather arriving quickly, a cool crisp salad can be the basis for a light and refreshing meal and a great way to get in your daily fruits and vegetables. Here are a few reasons why you should add salads to your daily routine. In addition, if you are interested in trying intermittent fasting to reduce chronic disease risk, lower blood glucose values, and improve metabolic health, here are some tips to get you started.
Healthy Salads Help You Get Even More Fruits and Vegetables
Salads can start with several different bases: leafy greens, ancient grains, and even fruits or vegetables. This variety makes salads a versatile staple to any summer diet.
Dark leafy greens and brightly colored vegetables ensure you get a range of vitamins and minerals, helping you to maintain a healthy body and mind. They are also overflowing with antioxidants, important chemicals in the fight against cancer-causing free radicals.
To get the most benefit, try to keep the majority of the ingredients in their raw form. These pack the biggest punch when it comes to creating a truly fabulous salad, plus they’re full of flavor and have a satisfying crunch.
Vegetable and Fruit Salads are Full of Fiber
Fiber is a wonderful thing as it helps you feel full longer and can provide a range of health benefits. For example, a fiber-rich diet can help alleviate and prevent constipation and lower cholesterol.
It can also make it easier to maintain a healthy body weight which reduces your risk of developing heart disease and diabetes. Your blood glucose levels may also stay more even, helping to prevent cravings for sugary foods.
You’ll Get Access to Unsaturated Fat
While salad ingredients can contain fat, most of them are of the unsaturated fat, which is far more beneficial than eating foods high in saturated fat. For example, nuts and avocados all have fat, but of the monounsaturated variety.
These not only help you feel more satisfied, but they also ensure your body can absorb other key nutrients found in fruits and vegetables more effectively.
Certain vitamins are fat-soluble, meaning they need fat to be present to aid absorption. Vitamins A, D, E, and K all fall into this category, so you need to consume an appropriate amount of healthy fat, like omega-3, to make sure these vitamins are making it to critical body systems.
Salads Can Cool You Down
Whether it is a traditional lettuce-based version or a fruit salad, the often-refrigerated ingredients can help you feel refreshed during the summer heat. As temperatures outside rise, hot meals become less appealing. Salads are an easy way to get those fruits and vegetables into your diet.
Tips To Prepare Healthy and Tasty Salads
At least one sizable salad every day is the perfect way to boost your nutrient intake, giving you flexibility with other meals and making sure you’re always on track with your daily nutritional requirements.
- The best way to include greens like romaine, radicchio, iceberg, and spinach in our daily diet is to mix them all up or use one at a time in salads.
- Add medicinal herbs like basil, garlic, lemon juice or parsley to the salad for that strong punch of flavor and loads of disease fighting antioxidants. The more flavorful your salad is naturally, the fewer high calorie ingredients you will need to add for taste.
- Pack your salads with as many other veggies or fruits as possible to get the synergistic effects. Carrots, cucumbers, different colored peppers, broccoli, peas, artichokes, strawberries, raspberries, or pears are great choices to get in different textures as well as plenty of filling fiber.
- After filling a bowl with your favorite vegetables and fruits, you might find yourself wanting a little something extra to top it off. Don’t reach for those store bought dressings that have things you can’t pronounce in them, make your own! This is a quick and easy way to dress up any salad or side and still keep them healthy.
Spice Up Your Salads with Homemade Dressings
Making healthy salad dressing isn't hard and there's no need to have a mile long list of ingredients in them (like their store-bought dressing counter parts). You can have more variety when you make your own, and you'll quickly learn what flavors you love together.
Salad dressings are super easy to make at home, and learning how to make your favorite dressing in your own kitchen is a super useful skill to have. You can also completely control the ingredients.
Have you ever cruised the salad dressing aisle and checked ingredient lists? Many of them are packed with artificial colors and flavors, which just aren’t necessary.
Sweet Fire Dressing
- 1/2 cup plain oat milk (or any unsweetened plant milk)
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/8 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/4 cup Dijon mustard or spicy brown mustard
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 1 scoop Amla Green Regular
- Combine the plant milk, cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, mustard and maple syrup in a bowl.
- Stir well and serve.
Dairy-Free Ranch Dressing
- 1 package low fat silken soft tofu
- 1/2 cup plain unsweetened almond milk
- 2 green onions chopped
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1 tsp dried parsley
- 1 tsp dried chives or 1/8 tsp. onion powder
- 1/2 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- Blend all ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth.
- Refrigerate for one hour before serving to allow the flavors to fully develop.
Maple Clove Vinaigrette
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 tbsp vinegar
- 2 tbsp chia seed
- 1/2 tsp cloves
- 1 scoop Amla Green Regular
- Whisk in a bowl until combined just before serving.
- If you want to make it ahead – skip adding the chia seed until just before serving.