image

The not so humble salad is making a come-back

Eight ways to enrich your salad and keep up with the in-crowd

It’s time to ditch those tasteless salads we compel ourselves to eat under the banner of healthy eating and instead reward our taste buds with a salad bursting with flavour and full of colour!   

Here we celebrate the trend for diverse, seasonal salads rich in nutrients which are fast becoming de rigueur at the dinner table.

A salad is not just an accompaniment; it can be the meal itself.  Watch out though – some salads can be calorie heavy and carry a high-fat content – if your salad is laced with ‘extras’ such as creamy dressing, croutons, blue cheese or bacon then it will be less healthy than you think!

“But your salad doesn’t have to be dull to be healthy,” says AXA PPP physiologist, Raj Kundhi, “if you choose produce that is in season and mix tastes, colour and textures then it isn’t too difficult to create a filling salad that’s nutritious and flavoursome too”.

Here are some tips from Raj on ways to zing up your salads:

Think about the base

The classic combo of lettuce, cucumber and tomato doesn’t always have to be the base of a salad.

Roasted or steamed vegetables can bring an interesting and tasty dimension full of texture:

  • Try roasted peppers – they’ll give plenty of sweetness and contain antioxidants which are good for your skin
  • Immunity boosting roasted squash is so versatile and full of vitamin C and magnesium
  • Give beetroot or onions a try – diversity is key!

Wholegrains, along with beans and pulses are good for your heart and can fill you up too:

  • Try quinoa – it’s low in fat, a good source of protein and gluten free
  • Chickpeas lend a nutty flavour if roasted with spices – they’re fibre rich which can help regulate your blood sugar too

Raw vegetables, grated into your salad are vibrantly coloured and can add texture:

  • Try adding aniseed tasting fennel – it’s rich in iron
  • Cabbage, celeriac and carrots are good antioxidants and will add depth to your salad.

Quinoa salad

More texture?

To give your salad that extra crunch, nuts and seeds are the foods to add.  They contain essential fats to help manage cholesterol and give a boost of protein too.   Nuts and seeds are calorie high but a spoonful (approximately 30g) sprinkled on your salad can help promote a healthy heart:

  • For that lovely crunch try adding a few walnuts – they are rich in omega-3
  • Partnered with chicken and avocado, sunflower seeds are fabulous – they are also high in omega-6 fats
  • For healthy bones, toasted almonds do the trick giving an extra depth of flavour along the way
  • If you feel like an Asian experience, try sesame seeds with a dash of reduced salt soy sauce

Go big on flavour

Seasoning not only adds flavour but can be good for you too.  Ditch the salt and try other seasonings:

  • For that extra flavour-kick garlic and chilli are just the ticket
  • If its zing you’re after then try a squeeze of citrus – it’s full of vitamin C
  • Pesto or hummus are healthier substitutes for creamy dressings
  • Herbs, whether in a dressing or just sprinkled on, are tasty and healthy too

Make a meal of it

A salad isn’t just an accompaniment it can be the main event – top it with protein like some grilled meat, or fish and it immediately becomes a main meal.  Just swap for tofu or tempeh as a veggie option.

  • Grilled skinless chicken or lean beef is always a favourite
  • Try salmon or mackerel for extra omega 3
  • Cooked lentils are delicious and full of protein
  • Add cheese or hardboiled eggs – these are both healthy – but don’t have too much!

Mix it up

The cornerstone of eating a balanced diet is variety:

  • Try the palette of flavours from sweet to salty, bitter to spicy
  • Experience different textures from raw to cooked and soft to crunchy
  • A rainbow of colours is the key – the more colours you add, the more vitamins and minerals you will eat
  • Add dark and light leaves – the darker the green the higher the iron content. Leaves such as kale and spinach are great and tasty too.

Make your own dressing

A dressing can help to bring the whole dish together.  Try making your own as it’ll be healthier and full of flavour:

  • Olive oil is great as a base for dressings; it is also good for your heart. Just add your favourite herbs, citrus juices and spices
  • Mix in some flavours like garlic, balsamic vinegar, mustard or chilli to give added dimension
  • Unusual additions like sweet pomegranate molasses are worth experimenting with – it goes well with middle-eastern flavours

Choose seasonal produce

Try to choose seasonal produce, as flavours will be at their best and prices generally lower.  Have fun seeing which combinations you prefer:

  • For a tropical salad try creamy avocado with melon, orange, mint and lime
  • Flavour up a quinoa or chickpea salad with pomegranate seeds
  • When asparagus is in season, it’s fabulous in a salad along with a poached egg.

Get fruity

Sweet and savoury is always a good combo:

  • Waldorf salad is the classic mix of apple, grapes and walnut
  • For added sweetness try adding some segments of orange or pomegranate to a savoury salad

Fruit salads are always good as a sweet treat:

  • Add a touch of balsamic vinegar and mint or basil to strawberries
  • Watermelon and mint go well with blueberries

Click here for some exciting recipes to try

Diet and nutrition centre – AXA PPP healthcare

Disclaimer
All content on Silversurfers.com is provided for general information only, and should not be treated at all as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. Silversurfers will not be responsible or liable for any diagnosis made by a user based on the content on www.silversurfers.com and we are also not liable for the content of any external websites or links from or to Silversurfers to any other websites. Please always consult your own doctor if you’re in any way concerned about any aspect of your health

Have you got a health question?

Silversurfers Health partner is AXA PPP healthcare. The AXA PPP healthcare's online service, "Ask the Expert", allows you to ask their team of friendly and experienced nurses, midwives, counselors and pharmacists about any health topic.

Don't feel alone. You can ask anything about your health, any time for 24 hours a day; everyday. Please get in touch with us now.
ASK THE EXPERT

The following two tabs change content below.

AXA PPP healthcare

The more you know about your body and how you can look after it, the healthier you are – and the stronger and bolder you become. That’s why we never stop looking for ways to support your health. We want to give you the tools and knowledge you need to take care of yourself – so you’re ready to face whatever the world brings.

Leave a Comment!

Not a member?

You need to be a member to interact with Silversurfers. Joining is free and simple to do. Click the button below to join today!

Click here if you have forgotten your password

Community Terms & Conditions

Content standards

These content standards apply to any and all material which you contribute to our site (contributions), and to any interactive services associated with it.

You must comply with the spirit of the following standards as well as the letter. The standards apply to each part of any contribution as well as to its whole.

Contributions must:

be accurate (where they state facts); be genuinely held (where they state opinions); and comply with applicable law in the UK and in any country from which they are posted.

Contributions must not:

contain any material which is defamatory of any person; or contain any material which is obscene, offensive, hateful or inflammatory; or promote sexually explicit material; or promote violence; promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age; or infringe any copyright, database right or trade mark of any other person; or be likely to deceive any person; or be made in breach of any legal duty owed to a third party, such as a contractual duty or a duty of confidence; or promote any illegal activity; or be threatening, abuse or invade another’s privacy, or cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety; or be likely to harass, upset, embarrass, alarm or annoy any other person; or be used to impersonate any person, or to misrepresent your identity or affiliation with any person; or give the impression that they emanate from us, if this is not the case; or advocate, promote or assist any unlawful act such as (by way of example only) copyright infringement or computer misuse.

Nurturing a safe environment

Our Silversurfers community is designed to foster friendships, based on trust, honesty, integrity and loyalty and is underpinned by these values.

We don't tolerate swearing, and reserve the right to remove any posts which we feel may offend others... let's keep it friendly!