How to Make Your Favorite Summer Salads Healthier

Summertime is synonymous with salads as no barbeque or picnic is complete without them. The problem is that not all salads are good for your health. In fact, some are so high in fat and calories that you may as well just eat a double cheeseburger with fries.

So, how do you enjoy your favorite summer salads without sacrificing your health or your weight loss plan? Simply follow these five tips:

Tip #1: Choose Dark Green over Light Green

If your favorite warm weather salad is actually made with leafy greens, then you are already one step ahead as there are much worse options when it comes to this particular food category. The number of vitamins and minerals they contain will help you reach and maintain a level of health that will make you feel good both now and well into the future.

To make your salad even better for you, skip the iceberg lettuce and go with a dark leafy green such as spinach or kale instead. Or, at least split them half and half as darker greens have a higher nutrient content and are better for you.

Tip #2: Choose Your Toppings Wisely

In addition to choosing the healthiest base for your salad, the toppings you select are equally, if not more so, important. Some options such as deep fried croutons, full fat cheese, and high fat dressings aren’t the best and can undo all of what you’re working toward when it comes to weight loss and fitness.

The best toppings to put on your salad are natural ones. For instance, diced peppers or onions, cucumber or tomato slices, and carrot shavings are great options. When dressing it, an oil and vinegar mixture is the healthiest alternative and you can also sprinkle a dash of salt and pepper on it just to make it pop.

If you simply cannot live without some of the not-so-good-for-you topping options, at least control their portion sizes. Don’t have more toppings than you do salad and you’re on the right track.

Tip #3: Swap Mayo for Greek Yogurt

A large number of salads have a mayonnaise base, which can add a tremendous amount of fat and calories to your lunch or dinnertime side dish. However, you don’t have to skip them entirely if they are your favorite as long as you make one simple little ingredient swap – Greek yogurt in place of the mayo.

The consistency is very similar and so is the taste. Plus, it adds some protein to your side dish which will help with hunger control, keeping you fuller longer.

Of course, you’re not always going to be the one making the salad, so you won’t necessarily have control over what is in it. So, again, portion control is the key. Use SlimPlate’s portion control plates to make sure you get enough to satisfy your appetite but not so much that you sacrifice your weight loss goals.

Tip #4: Think Homemade Versus Pre-Made Sauces and Dressings

When making your favorite salad, you can make it healthier (and tastier) if you choose to make your own sauce or dressing versus buying a pre-made one. This allows you to control what goes in it, in addition to amplifying the taste as fresh always beats out something that has been stored in a can or bottle.

Certainly, it takes a little more time and effort if you take this route, but the payoff will be there. Not only will you have your guests wondering how you made such a fantastic salad, but you will be able to eat it without guilt because you’ll know that it is low fat, low in calories and good for you.

Tip #5: Go For More Color

The more colors you have in your favorite salad the healthier it will be. So, add as many different veggies as you can to the mix, incorporating a rainbow of options such as purple cabbage, orange carrot slices, red radishes, and yellow peppers.

If you prefer something a little sweeter, fruit makes a great salad addition. Slice up some strawberries or throw in some blueberries for a multitude of tastes and textures that is like an appetizer and dessert all in one.

In short, swap out unhealthy ingredients for more nutritious ones and engage in portion control and you’ll be on the right track. Be sure to share this list with friends and family so they can start serving healthier fare at your gatherings too, making it easier than ever for you to lose weight and gain happiness.

What are some of your healthy salad favorites? How do you make your summertime side dishes better for you?