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Make the Best Salad for Your Health

Margaret Minnicks is health conscienced and has learned a lot about her own health that she wants to share with others.


When I eat a salad, it is not a side dish. Instead, it is a delicious and healthy meal. It is loaded with all the recommended foods for the day. You can learn to make your own healthy salads by using a combination of your favorite ingredients. When you use the right ingredients, the salad will be filled with vitamins, minerals, protein, smart carbs, and healthy fats that are recommended by the USDA.

When you make your own salad, you control what goes into it. You can leave out unhealthy ingredients that are loaded with calories, fat, sodium, and sugar.

Spinach Salad

Spinach Salad

Salad Greens



iceberg lettuce

romaine lettuce


When making a salad, start with the greens that can be selected from the list above. Feel free to use more than one type of greens in the same salad. Remember that the darker the greens, the better they will be for you because of the contents of vitamin C, folic acid, and potassium.

Iceberg and pale lettuces have a high water content with fewer nutrients. Therefore, spinach and kale are the best foundations for healthy salads. These two types of greens have 10 times more immune-boosting vitamins A and C than iceberg lettuce.



artichoke hearts



green, yellow, orange and red bell peppers



brussel sprouts



onions, white, red


Putting vegetables in your salad is a good way to get the recommendations of four servings of vegetables every day.

Healthier salads are loaded with vegetables for nutrition, flavor, and color. Use a combination of vegetables listed above. Feel free to use leftover vegetables from the previous night's dinner.


beef, lean

black beans

boiled eggs


chicken, grilled







A salad with only vegetables won't keep you full for long. You need protein to curve that hunger. Good sources of protein include hard-boiled eggs, grilled chicken breast, salmon, shrimp, and tuna.

You can also include black beans, lentils, tofu, and low-fat cheese.


apple slices

avocado slices

berries, blackberries, blueberries, cranberries,






pear slices


Even though your salad is not a fruit salad, you can add fruit to green salads and other salads. It is best to use fresh fruit for sweetness and antioxidants. Dried fruits can be used, but they have less water and volume than fresh fruits. They are also higher in sugar.

Avocado slices provide over 20 vitamins and minerals along with heart-healthy fat.









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Nuts will give your salad lots of crunch. They also provide fiber, protein, and healthy fat. This mixture of nutrients makes your salad more satisfying and healthy and helps to keep you full longer. It is recommended to eat nuts regularly to help decrease the risk of cancer and heart disease.

Pistachios are a nice source of protein and should be added to salads for vegans and vegetarians.


blue cheese, crumbled

feta cheese

gonazola cheese




Cheese has calcium, but it also has roughly 100 calories per ounce. If you decide to add cheese, make sure it is a low-fat cheese, such as feta or parmesan.


chia seeds

flax seeds

hemp seeds

pomegranate seeds

pumpkin seeds

sesame seeds

sunflower seeds

There are many different seeds you can add to your salad. Choose from the list above. Here are some tips to help you decide which ones are best for your salad.

  • Chia seeds are best known as a superfood, Just 2 tablespoons have nearly 10 grams of fiber.
  • Flax seeds can help you get omega-3 fatty acids if you don't eat enough fish. They are good for your heart. They may help lower blood pressure. Add flax seeds to your salad for a nutty flavor.
  • Hemp seeds are mild and can be added for a savory flavor. Two tablespoons have almost 7 grams of protein. That's more than chia and flax seeds.
  • Pomegranate seeds are sweet and high in vitamin C and antioxidants. They add flavor and color to your salad.
  • Pumpkin seeds are rich in magnesium that boost heart health, help your muscles, and give you energy.
  • Sesame seeds are high in fatty acids that may lower the bad type of cholesterol. They are rich in fiber and protein. They add crunch and flavor to salads.
  • Sunflower seeds are tasty and good for you. They are high in healthy fats. One ounce has half your daily recommendation for vitamin E.

Salad Dressing

Blue Cheese


Honey Mustard


Poppy Seed


Sweet Vidalia Onion

Thousand Island

Creamy dressings like ranch, blue cheese, Thousand Island, and French dressing are high in calories, sodium, and unhealthy saturated fat. Just a 2-tablespoon serving of creamy salad dressing could add 150 calories and more than 15 grams of fat. Also, avoid using mayonnaise in salads.

It is best to make your own salad dressing by using olive oil and balsamic or red wine vinegar. Use more vinegar and less oil. You can also spruce up the dressing with lemon or lime juice. Add a little honey or Dijon mustard for flavor. Season with salt and black pepper.

Crunchy Stuff

bacon bits


wonton strips

Croutons and bacon bits are high in salt. Even though they give you a crunch, they don't add much nutrition to your salads. Instead of adding croutons and bacon bits just for the crunch, add nuts, seeds, or crisp vegetables, such as carrots, celery, cucumbers, jicama, or purple cabbage.

Avoid croutons, tortilla strips, wonton strips, and chow mein noodles. You will get the crunch, but they are high in fat and sodium and low in nutrients.


black pepper



Other Ingredients


alfalfa sprouts

banana peppers

hot peppers

olives, black or green



Excellent Suggestion

You have seen the lists of what can be added to a salad. It is easier to prepare a salad with those ingredients for yourself, but if you are making a salad for your family, you should not add all those ingredients.

Here is an excellent suggestion.

Do not mix the ingredients into a salad for your family or guests. Instead, have those ingredients available in small bowls or on a Lady Susan. That way, everyone can choose what they want to include in their own salads.


8 Ways to Make a Super Healthy Salad

9 Seeds You Should Be Eating

This content is for informational purposes only and does not substitute for formal and individualized diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed medical professional. Do not stop or alter your current course of treatment. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

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