How to Make the Perfect Salad with Nutritious Ingredients

Photo of quinoa salad | How to Make the Perfect Salad with Nutritious Ingredients | Ever wonder how to make the perfect salad with nutritious ingredients? It's not as hard as you may think. Here are some tips to get you started!

When I was in junior high, a bag of fast food was brought into science class in containing a signature burger from the golden arches. Along with it were a blender and a small glass of water. The burger and water were tossed into a blender and whirred up. We sat there as we watched the layers separate and the fat rose to the top - all 28g of unhealthy grease - and that’s not even getting into the 46g of refined carbs. I was cured. I haven’t eaten a cheap, sauce-laden fast food burger since.

Now you might turn to the salads on the menu thinking that you are doing your body a favor, but here’s the truth bomb...

Most restaurant salads contain MORE calories, unhealthy fat, and refined carbs than that same burger I described above, some popular restaurant salads peaking at over 1400 calories and 42g of SUGAR! Oh-Em-Gee. So gross!

It’s sad, but these days, just about anything can be labeled a salad, as long as it is served up on a bed of lettuce. You may as well eat a processed burger (but please don’t.) We'll show you how to make the perfect salad with nutritious ingredients. 

How to Make the Perfect Salad with Nutritious Ingredients at Home

Building the perfect salad made of nutritionally dense ingredients isn’t as difficult as you might expect. While everyone’s nutritional macros will be different depending on your lifestyle, dietary needs and fitness goals here is a basic maintenance guideline to get you started. You can tweak your macros and make substitutes to fit your own nutritional needs, but always talk with your doctor before making drastic changes in your diet.

Start with the Lettuce

Choose a mix of quality, organic, dark-leafy greens whenever possible. Dark leafy greens are more nutritionally dense than other forms of lettuce. (Note: Low-oxalate diet should avoid large amounts of spinach, collards, beet greens, chard, endive, and kale. Lower-oxalate greens include cabbage, romaine, iceberg and arugula.) A typical spring mix serving (3 cups) is about 20 calories, 1g net carbs, 2g protein 0g fat.

Add Protein 

The average woman needs around 10-25g of protein per meal. If you’re a nursing mom or pregnant, it’s on the higher side – ask your obstetrician for recommended protein intake). Good protein options include about 3 oz of cooked, high-quality, sustainable meats like (boneless skinless) chicken, steak, shrimp, and salmon, lightly seasoned with salt, pepper, and a blend of Wildly Organic’s seasonings. Each ounce of cooked meat provides approximately 7g of protein. Eggs and cheese in moderation can also add protein.

Vegan options can include beans, quinoa, seeds and nuts. Nuts and seeds specifically, also provide healthy omega fatty acids that boost your brain power, but take it easy because they are also high-calorie. Wildly Organic has different seeds and nuts that are great for topping your salad. Some favorites include Wildly Organic pecans, almonds, and pumpkin seeds. In fact, try this recipe for paleo pumpkin spiced candied nuts free from refined sugars if you're looking for something a little sweet to add to your salad. 

Photo of salad with grilled chicken | How to Make the Perfect Salad with Nutritious Ingredients | Ever wonder how to make the perfect salad with nutritious ingredients? It's not as hard as you may think. Here are some tips to get you started!	Find Healthy Toppings 

The key word here is, “healthy.” This is where those unhealthy calories can add up if you’re not careful. Look at your local farmers markets or in the produce section of the store to find the best choices. Generously add in things like tomatoes, cucumber, green onion, shredded carrot, chopped celery, and bell pepper. You can also add fruits in moderation, like apple, berries, avocado, tangerines, or no-sugar-added dried fruit/berries, like Wildly Organic dried goji berries. Things to avoid: croutons, fried onions, crunchy noodles, dried fruit with added sugars, or refined sugar-laden candied nuts.

Drizzle with a Healthy Dressing 

The cheap shelf options are usually made with poor-quality ingredients like canola oil. Your best bet will be to make your own with a flavorful vinegar and Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Wildly Organic with a 2:1 ratio, lightly seasoned with salt and pepper or another seasoning of choice. Instead of making your own, use one of Wildly Organic’s flavorful salad dressings.

That’s it! If you’re watching your macros, there are several phone apps available to help you keep your macros in line while building a beautiful AND healthy salad. 

Need some salad inspiration? Start with one of these recipes!

What are your favorite healthy salad ingredients when building the perfect nutritious salad at home?

Previous article Why You Should Consider Using Coconut Oil Instead of Butter

Wildly Organic is an independent source for wholesome, organic foods and natural, raw foods and ingredients, the building blocks of a healthy life.