Salads seem like a healthy option for lunch...until they leave you ravished an hour later.
It's not that having a salad for lunch is a poor choice, it's often that there is little substance to the salad itself. A robust salad is a great way to get in a variety of veggies at lunch along with tons of flavor and energy to keep you going all afternoon.
If salads seem boring or lacking, check out these tips:
Build a Solid Base:
A sustainable salad starts with a solid base. Include dark leafy greens and a variety of veggies to get your salad going. By starting with lots of vegetables, you're sure to hit your veggie target for the day and get in a variety of nutrients. Use fresh veggies or leftovers from last night's dinner. Try sauteeing your greens for a warm salad in the wintertime. Veggies are packed with fiber and a little protein which will help to keep you full.
Protein in your salad increases its staying power because it takes a little while to digest. Try adding beans, leftover chicken, hard-boiled eggs, deli meat, tempeh, or tofu to get in essential amino acids. Don't forget - veggies and whole grains contain protein too.
Fuel with Carbs:
A well-rounded salad includes carbs. Carbohydrates keep your energy going throughout the day and can help you feel satisfied with your salad. Add in cooked grains (batch ahead of time for convenience), beans, roasted potatoes, fruit, granola, or crackers for texture, flavor, and legit staying power.
Fat = Flavor:
The presence of fat in meals helps your body feel fullness during a meal. Salads that are too low in fat do not promote satiety and leave us looking for more food to "fill the hole." Healthy fats like olive oil, hummus, nuts, olives, and tahini lend flavor and healthy vitamins. Flavorful cheeses such as feta or goat cheese help to feel satisfied with a stellar salad.
Make It Pop!:
Fat is not the only ingredient that adds flavor to a salad. Flavorful additions such as pickles, dried fruit, chopped nuts, bold cheeses, acidic vinegars, sauerkraut, and even Chex Mix can make a salad mouth-watering. Add in your pizazz and find yourself actually looking forward to your favorite salad combo regularly.
As you can see, salads do not need to be a boring, lackluster pile of iceberg leaves and too-big-to-chew carrot slices. Get creative with your salad - adding in veggies, protein, carbs, and flavor to keep you going strong all afternoon.