Choosing Healthy Salad Toppings

June 25, 2012

With the increase of high calorie and high fat meals typified by those offered at fast food restaurants, more people are choosing to pack their lunch rather than eating out for a variety of reasons but most people are wanting to either save money, eat healthier, or both.  One solution is a simple, cost effective lunchtime salad.

Salads are an appealing lunch meal because they can include a variety of items, allowing anyone to be a minute gourmand and build their dream salad. Be careful: your salad can go from “healthy” to “unhealthy”  if you don’t limit high calorie and fattening toppings including creamy salad dressings, cheese, bacon and buttery croutons.

People will agree, the toppings mentioned taste great, but there are other options that offer flavor and nutrients. Remember, not all salads have to be boring. Below are toppings that will make anyone’s taste buds ready for lunch.

Dried Fruit

Dried fruit add a bit of sweetness, vital nutrients/mineral, and texture to your salad without the fat that comes from bacon bits or oily croutons. Dried fruits like cranberries and blueberries can be used to top a variety of different salads and they pair well with healthy olive oil and balsamic or apple cider vinegar-based vinaigrette. For a healthy and delicious salad, combine fresh arugula or micro-greens with dried fruit and a small serving of organic goat cheese in a large bowl. Top the salad with a few tablespoons of homemade lemon juice and olive oil vinaigrette and toss it right before serving.

Nuts

Nuts, such as sliced almonds, pecans, hazelnuts, pine nuts or even raw chopped peanuts can be used to add a bit of crunch to your salad instead of croutons, which can be high in fat and calories. Unlike croutons, nuts are high in unsaturated fats, similar to those found in olive oil and avocados which are actually good for your heart, and eating them regularly can help to lower your low density lipoprotein level (LDL), commonly referred to as “bad cholesterol,” while raising your high density lipoprotein level (HDL), known as “good cholesterol.” Learn more about the health benefits of eating nuts.

You can top almost any salad with nuts, but almonds, walnuts and pecans pair well with salads made with sweet, fruit-based dressings, while pine nuts and hazelnuts tend to work better with savory salads.

 Seeds

Like nuts, seeds offer beneficial nutrients, and adding them to your salad can create a huge burst of flavor. Sunflower kernels are popular when sprinkled over savory salads, but less common seeds like pepita, poppy and chia seeds also make excellent toppings for salads. If you make your own homemade dressings in a blender, try adding a tablespoon of seeds or two instead of topping your salad with them if you prefer.

My Salad Bar

My Salad Bar is a re-sealable container providing consumers dried cranberries, roasted & salted sunflower kernels, walnuts and oat brand sticks, four popular healthy salad toppings in one container. All products are all natural and have zero trans fat and zero cholesterol.

Beans

Beans like garbanzo beans, also known as chickpeas, red beans or black beans can be used to top salads, adding essential protein, fiber and amino acids to your diet. Beans pair well with savory dressings and healthy, low-fat vinaigrette. You can use canned beans (drain to reduce sodium), but buying dry beans and soaking them will save you money and provide more nutritional value.

Tags: my salad bar, nuts, salad toppings, seeds

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