If you're like me (and most of America) you probably hate the idea of eating a salad. (You should see my husband's face when I tell him we're having a salad as a meal!)
To be fair, salads are either boring or they're yummy but hardly what you can actually call a healthy salad. (I'll take my salad with croutons, chips, ranch, pepperoni, cheese, and minus the greens please!)
But... salads can be tasty and healthy! (For Real!)
The following are 5 ways that I have learned (throughout my journey to like vegetables) to make salads taste better, without adding everything that I shouldn't eat.
I hope that these tips help make it easier for YOU to get through the "horrible experience" of salad eating :)
1. Add Fruit
This is the easiest flavor enhancing method for any salad. Fruit tastes good and so it'll make your salad taste good as well.
It actually blends really well with greens and proteins like chicken breast. I add fruits like strawberries, apples, or mandarins. Tart and Sweet are the kind of flavors to look for in fruits that will go well with a salad because the sweetness counteracts the bitterness of some dark green vegetables and the tartness goes well with the savory flavors from your protein.
I definitley wouldn't add a fruit like bananas because....well gross. Also, bananas are very high in sugar and it's best to keep your additives in the lower calorie and higher fiber range so that you don't lose out on the benefits of the salad by eating too much sugar.
2. Use A Dressing
This one you probably already thought of. Most people's response to a salad meal is Salad Dressing. The problem is that a lot of salad dressings are high in fat and high in sugar. So much so that, if you're dousing your salad in ranch dressing, you may as well eat a hamburger.
You can get healthier dressings though. Look for vinagrettes which are a mix of oil and vinegar or lemon juice and read the back to know what it actually has in it. You can also, yourself, add a tsp of olive oil and some apple cider vinegar.
Lemon juice is a good additive that gives any salad a little spunk.
I like to mix some lemon juice with a 1/4 avocado and cover my veggies with it, and it tastes awesome!
I also buy zero calorie dressings that taste like traditional dressings without all the bad stuff. (You can check out this Ranch Dressing that has 0 calories and is good for you!)
And if you can't get a healthy alternative and you're not willing to go bare, just make sure you only use a small amount (1 Tsp -1 Tbsp) and ask for it on the side, then dip your fork in before grabbing your greens and it'll give you the flavor without having to cover your whole plate in dressing.
A lot of the time people think of salad as a large bowl of iceberg lettuce. But adding a variety of greens can make a HUGE difference. There are soo many types of greens and other veggies that you can add to enhance flavor and keep it interesting!
Spinach and Kale are two greens that pack a punch of flavor and using a lettuce like Romaine instead of Iceberg gives you more nutrients.
I also like to add tomatoes, cucumber, radishes, and some people like onion and jalapenos as well.
You can add cabbage and carrots and even broccoli slices into small pieces.
You can buy premixed bags of veggies that have a little of everything so you don't have to buy a ton of vegetables you aren't familiar with.
4. Massage Your Greens
To be honest, I just learned this tip but it works!!
I never liked Kale or those other really dark greens because they tend to taste bitter. But they're the best for you. So I learned that by adding a tsp of oil, a pinch of salt, and some lemon juice, you can then massage the greens with your hands and it actually helps soften the leaves. This brings out some flavor and it makes it easier to eat your meal.
This tactic of pre-chewing your food, (I know that sounds gross) is actually very common in the food industry. Chicken patties are injected with water before freezing so that when they are deep fried the pockets are filled with fat and when we chew them they pretty much melt into your mouth without much chewing effort. This makes food more palatable and gives more of an incentive to eat. By massaging your greens, it sort of does the same thing, but with a much healthier food.
5. Chop, Chop, Chop!
Another tool to make your meal more palatable is to chop your vegetables to a good size for you. If you were to leave a romaine leaf it's original size it makes it almost impossible to fit in your mouth. If you chop everything too small then it can make the whole meal mushy. So making sure that all the pieces are a good size so that you can pick up a piece of lettuce, spinach, chicken, and strawberry at once with your fork and get all the flavors together, will make your whole experience much more pleasing!
These tips have made it much easier for me to get through the "torture" of healthy eating. I am confident that they will help you as well! Try them out and let me know how you like your salads from here on :)
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