Salads are one of the most enduring foods of all time, with records showing that ancient Greeks and Romans mixed the first greens and topped them with a vinegar-based dressing, according to LettuceInfo.org. Since then, nearly every culture of the world has enjoyed some form of this versatile plant-based food — salad has even been eaten in space, thanks to lettuce grown on the International Space Station, Newsweek reported.
Even after all those centuries of innovation, however, it can still come as a surprise that salad can be a satisfying meal on its own — maybe that’s why there was so much fuss when Jennifer Aniston claimed she ate the same salad every day while working on the set of Friends, according to People.
While iceberg wedge appetizers and side salads have their place, most of us would be more apt to dig into a bowl of leafy greens daily if we knew we weren’t going to be hungry again an hour or two later. While salads garner a reputation for being low-calorie health food, many also lack the balance of protein, high-quality carbohydrates, and healthy fats that gives a meal staying power and provide a variety of nutrients your body needs.
The Ingredients Every Salad Needs
Protein can take many forms, including a can of tuna, leftover chicken breast, or air-fried salmon — or plant-based sources of protein like lentils, edamame, or tofu. Getting adequate protein can be particularly important when you’re cutting calories for weight loss, and eating even slightly more led dieters to make healthier food choices overall, according to the results of one study published in May 2022 in the journal Obesity.
High-quality carbohydrates are complex carbs like whole grains rather than refined ones, and provide additional fiber, another filling nutrient. Because fibrous foods cannot be digested, they move through the digestive tract more slowly and provide prolonged feelings of satiety, according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Swapping whole grains for refined ones also appears to lower the risk for cardiovascular disease, research shows. In a salad, the best complex carbs to choose are vegetables or even fruit, like a handful of berries, grapefruit segments, or sliced mango. Only 10 percent of American adults consume the recommended amount of vegetables per day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). You can also add a serving of whole grains such as quinoa, farro, or wild rice to your salad. Not only do they add a nutty taste and texture, they also are rich B vitamins and fiber, according to the Whole Grains Council.
Finally, don’t forget some healthy fats. Fats are digested at the slowest rate out of all macronutrients, which delays gastric emptying and promotes satiety, according to the book Food Detection: Taste, Texture, and Post Ingestive Effects. Fat will also help your body absorb the fat-soluble vitamins in fruits and vegetables, according to Produce for Better Health. Stick with the mono- and polyunsaturated kind, which have been linked to numerous health benefits including a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, reduced cellular inflammation, improved cholesterol and blood pressure, and better blood sugar control, according to UCLA Health. You can find these fats in olive oil, nuts, and seeds — just use them in moderation, because all fat is calorie dense.
The following seven salads embrace these rules and are sure to satisfy as a meal unto themselves.
News Source: https://www.everydayhealth.com/healthy-recipes/filling-salads-to-eat-for-lunch-or-dinner/