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How to Build Healthy but Filling Salads

Woman tossing a salad

Obviously, a salad is healthier than a cheeseburger.  But if you eat nothing but lettuce for lunch, you will probably be hungry (bordering on “hangry”) by mid-afternoon.  The key to a filling salad is protein.  When you add healthy protein to your vegetables, you end up with a meal that will keep you full until dinner.

  • Adding a couple of hard-boiled eggs to the mix really boosts the staying power of your salad.
  • In moderation and depending on what else you have in your mix, cheese actually does have protein. Goat cheese, blue, and feta are packed with flavor so a little goes a long way.
  • Slice or dice a gorgeous avocado to a simple salad and you really have a treat. Not only are they creamy and delicious, but they add healthy fats and protein.
  • Microwaving and dicing a veggie patty (quinoa or beans are great options) can really liven up the normal taco salad mixture.
  • While not strictly a salad ingredient, accompanying your salad with a dollop of hummus (my favorite is usually roasted red pepper) can really add sustainable protein to your salad greens. When you dip with veggies instead of chips, you are getting an extra dose of vitamins as well!
  • I know, chicken or tuna salad may not sound like a great option since they are sometimes loaded with mayonnaise. But if you make your own, you can control the mayo and to reduce the other calories, use the creamy protein as your dressing too.

Even with all of these yummy additions, make sure to fill out the meal with mostly vegetables.  The darker the leafy green the better, and lots of color boosts the antioxidant content (think yellow bell peppers, red radishes, green cucumbers, and orange carrots).

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