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Sunday, January 31, 2016

Ten Healthier Salad Toppings

Salads are wonderful, but they can be tricky.  We typically opt for salad when trying to make healthier choices but unfortunately we still have to be careful.  Remember that not all salads are healthy.  When trying to lose weight, try and stay away from salads that have fried ingredients, are swimming in dressing, and have a lot  of unhealthy fats.

I tend to get bored with salads easily, which is why I’m always trying to keep things interesting in the kitchen.  I love the mixture of different textures, colors, and shapes in my salad.  I like to have a subtle crunch in the mix of my leafy greens, although I ditched croutons a long time ago.  The nice thing about salads is that you can adjust the ingredients to your cravings.  In the mood for something sweet?  Have a salad with fruit and a sweeter dressing.  In the mood for something savory?  Load up on the veggies and protein.   Salads can be one key part to losing weight because they are FAST and CONVENIENT.  There’s no baking required, you can make them ahead of time and pack them to go, and everyone can make them… even for those who can’t “cook”  

Here are few of my favorite healthy salad toppings!

1.    Wasabi Peas 

If you haven’t tried these already, just go ahead and buy two bags.  You’ll end up snacking on the first and then use the second for your salads.  Wasabi peas are delish and they add a lot of texture and flavor to your salad.  These are the perfect way to spice things up.
Recipe: Spinach, Wasabi Peas, Tomato, Red Onion, Avocado, Shredded Carrots, Olive Oil, Lemon Juice 

2.    Veggie Chips

These are even better than croutons for several reasons.  1.  They have more flavor, with the crunchiness you love.  2.  They are healthier.  3.  They are savory.  4.  They are the
Recipe: Lettuce, chopped tomato, carrots, corn, cheese, veggie chips 

3. Pine Nuts 

Oh, how I LOVE pine nuts in my salads.  They are soooo delicious and really add that extra something you need to your salad. 
 Recipe: Arugula, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, pine nuts, and parmesan cheese 

4.    Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds are my go to with salads.  They are the perfect guilt-free topping because they’re a little salty and they add a nice texture. 
Recipe: Spinach, dried cranberries, grapes, feta cheese, raspberry vinaigrette 

5.    Dried Fruit
My favorite dried fruit to add to just about any salad is dried cranberries. Yum! However, any kind of dried fruit would work! I prefer dried fruit over fresh fruit because of texture and flavor.  I personally think the dried fruit gives a salad more umph… it’s like a party in your mouth!

6.    Sesame Seeds

A subtle way to add a little bit of flavor and A LOT of health benefits to any salad.  Sesame seeds are loaded with protein and vitamins.
Recipe: Kale, Olive Oil, Sesame Seeds 

7.    Quinoa 

Quinoa is one of, if not my most favorite super food.  It’s so versatile and using it as a salad topping is one of my favorite ways to eat it.  Quinoa is full of fiber, iron, magnesium, protein and more.  Add some quinoa to any salad and it will go from blah to yum!
 Recipe: Spinach, Green Onion, Avocado, Quinoa, Tomato, Lime Juice 

8.    Shredded Carrots

Love shredded carrots!  An amazing veggie with the perfect crunch and amazing health benefits. 
Recipe:  Kale, Carrots, Peanuts, Olive Oil, Sesame Seeds, Salt, Pepper 

9.    Chia Seeds

Chia seeds don’t really add any flavor or texture to your salad, however they are AMAZING and have so many benefits.  They are loaded with fiber and can help keep you fuller for longer.  Adding a tablespoon or so into your salad is a great way to sneak an extra nutritional boost!
 Recipe: Arugula, Red onion, Avocado, Kalamata Olives, Grape Tomatos, Mozzarella Cheese, Chia Seeds 

10.  Any type of nut!

Get creative and be daring! There is an unlimited amount of options out there and nuts are a great way to add a little more excitement to your salad!