1) Start with your greens
Dark green leafy vegetables are some of the most beneficial food items you can eat. They are excellent sources of B-vitamins, dietary fiber, minerals, antioxidants (carotenoids), and vitamin K. Dark green leafy vegetables may be one of the best cancer-preventing foods because of their high content of antioxidants. Eating 2 to 3 servings per week has been associated with decreasing the risk of stomach, breast and skin cancer. Consuming greens will also improve heart health by regulating LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Examples include: spinach, kale, romaine lettuce, collard greens, Swiss chard, and arugula
2) Make it colorful
People who eat fruits and vegetables on a regular basis significantly reduce their chances of developing chronic diseases. Eating fruits and vegetables from a variety of colors such as yellow, orange, red, blue, dark green and white not only makes your salad more aesthetically pleasing but also allows you to consume a broad range of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and fiber.
Examples include: Sliced apples, bell peppers, eggplant, shredded carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, purple cabbage, corn, mushrooms, red onions, broccoli, blueberries, alfalfa sprouts.
3) Add some protein
Quality protein is an important component of a healthy and balanced diet. Protein is essential for the enzymatic reactions, hormone production, and the growth and repair of bodily tissues such as muscle, hair, skin, organs, nails, tendons, and blood plasma. One common misconception is that plant-based diets don’t have enough protein. This is certainly not the cause because there are plenty of plant-based foods that will help you reach your protein requires while providing a complete amino acid profile.
Examples include: Chickpeas, black beans, lentils, pinto beans, quinoa, edamame, green peas
4) Include healthy fats
Healthy fats are essential for metabolism, heart health, brain health, digestion, and hormonal regulation. Animal based fats found in meat, dairy, and eggs contain high levels of saturated fats and cholesterol can contribute to inflammation and clogged arteries. Plant-based fats on the other hand, contain no cholesterol and are usually high in healthy mono & polyunsaturated fats.
Examples include: Avocado, walnuts, almonds, sesame seeds, chia seeds, flaxseed, olives, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds
5) Dress it up
Now you’ve built you plant-based salad. For those who aren’t appealed to eating an undressed salad, you can add fresh herbs, garlic, vinegar, or citrus dressing to top off your salad. Click here for a link to a few healthy salad dressing recipes.