Avocado Dressing and Other Healthier Options for Your Salad

Avocado dressing and other healthy salad additions can ensure that you keep your salad nutritious. While some people consider salads to be a healthy choice, they can often be high in calories and high in fat. Rather than filling your salad bowl with unhealthy salad toppings, such as cheese, bacon and croutons, consider how you can keep your salad the way it was meant to be: nutritious.

Greens

The main component of all salads is the bed the toppings rest upon, otherwise known as the greens. Because greens are low in calories and high in fiber and other nutrients, use greens as a filling method to keep your salad within a healthy caloric range, conducive to weight loss goals. Try to purchase dark greens, as they contain more vitamins than the typical iceberg salad that you may be used to. Iceberg salad has nearly no nutritional value.

Avocado Dressing

Avocado dressing provides a healthy alternative to traditional fat and calorie filled dressings, such as ranch or blue cheese. Avocados do have a high calorie count, with approximately 250 calories per avocado. However, avocados are full of other healthy vitamins and nutrients including vitamin K, folate, potassium, vitamin E, monounsaturated fats, vitamin B6, vitamin C, magnesium and lutein. Because avocado dressing uses a  fresh avocado and a few other healthy ingredients, the dressing is considered to be a healthy choice. Peel and core 1 ripe avocado and place in a blender. Add ¾ cup water, 1 tsp lime zest, 3 Tblsp lime juice, ½ tsp cumin, ½ tsp salt, ½ tsp pepper, 2 chopped green onions and 1 minced clove of fresh garlic. Blend until completely smooth.

Protein-Rich

Because it is considered “muscle food”, an important component of any meal is protein. The key to selecting healthy proteins for salad toppings is to carefully view the calories, fat, sodium and protein. Processed meats, such as lunch meat and pepperoni have some protein, but are likely higher in calories, fat and sodium. Healthy protein choices consist of chicken, turkey, salmon, tuna or lean cuts of steak. Hard boiled egg whites are also high in protein, low in calories and make a tasty addition to salads.

Vegetables and Fruits

Use vegetables and fruits generously to add extra vitamins and flavor while still being calorie conscientious. Raw vegetables will add color and texture to your salad, allowing for a great deal of variety. Consider using broccoli, avocados, tomatoes, carrots, cauliflower, cucumbers, snap peas, zucchini, squash and artichokes in your salad. Fruit, such as strawberries, mandarin oranges, apples, blueberries, cranberries and raisins add the perfect touch of sweetness, coupled with vitamin c and other important nutrients.

Nuts

Nuts provide a healthy source of polyunsaturated fatty acids, omega-3 fatty acids and protein. They also provide a nice flavor and texture in an otherwise boring salad. Be careful to exercise portion control because nuts do tend to be higher in calories. Good choices include walnuts, pecans, almonds, cashews or sunflower seeds.

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