A salad surrounded by a blue print of carrots, chickpeas, an apple, and salad dressing

How to Make Better Salads

I understand why some people say they don't like salads, because well, some salads are not good. I've definitely both made and ordered a salad that is kind of sad-looking and tasting; the lettuce wasn't very fresh, there were minimal toppings, and the dressing was gross. Also, I wasn't full after eating them! After I learned how to make a really good salad, salads are one of my favorite meals now.

How to make a better salad when managing type 2 diabetes

I wanted to share the tips I've learned to create a delicious salad that looks and tastes like it would cost $16 at a nice restaurant.

Incorporate protein

One reason why salads may not make you feel full is due to the lack of protein. If a salad is just lettuce and raw veggies, it will contain fiber and nutrients, but it won't be very filling. Some delicious plant-based protein ideas include baked tofu, grilled tempeh, lentils, beans, nuts, and seeds. For those who eat animal products, hard-boiled eggs, tuna, salmon, and grilled chicken all work well on a salad.

Add something crunchy or crispy

The crunch does not only have to come from croutons. I love adding toasted seeds and nuts on top of my salad. Even a few slices of crisp apple, celery, or carrot can provide a crunchy texture. Another option is to bake chickpeas lightly drizzled in oil and salt in the oven until the outside is crispy.

Change up the dressing

A dressing can be as simple and delicious as vinegar and olive oil, but sometimes it can be fun to switch it up. Store-bought dressings can be high in sugar, sodium, and saturated fats, so making your own dressing can help you avoid this. Try these salads dressings or an avocado dip/dressing.

Add something pickled

I like to keep shelf-stable jars of pickled and marinated vegetables in my cupboards, like pickled pepper, marinated artichokes, green beans, and olives. These are great ingredients to pull-out out a whim and toss on top to add a salty and tangy flavor.

Throw on something sweet

When I say sweet, I don't mean sugary. Sweetness can come in the form of a few pieces of fruit or even sweeter vegetables. Berries, grapes, raisins, dried cranberries, and apples are tasty to add to a salad. Steamed or baked sweet potato has a naturally occurring sweetness. Or, add some caramelized honey walnuts.

Try something new

Think something might taste good on a salad? Then try it out! I eat a lot of salads, so it is important to me to have variety. I switch up what veggies I use, and recently I have tried out purple daikon radish and basil as a salad topping. There are many different salad greens out there, and right now my two favorites are butter lettuce and little gems. You can switch up what nuts, fruits, and beans you use and even change the style you cut your veggies in.

The salad takeaway

Salads are a great way to incorporate a lot of veggies, protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals into your diet. I imagine salad greens as the perfect vessel for all of your favorite toppings and proteins. Not all salads are equal, but following the tips above can ensure that you have a salad that is worth eating!

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