Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Wonders of a Salad!

Now, not too long ago I was not a fan of salad. I mainly saw them as a side and never found any use for them as a main course. Until about a year ago, I really started embracing the concept of salads being filling and appetizing. Below are some of my favorite delicious, nutritious, and cheap salad options that you can use to liven up your lettuce or spinach.

Sunflower Seeds- You can stop by your local convenience store and pick up two packs of sunflower seeds for  $1! Unless you are an avid sunflower seed fan, than 1/2 pack (plain, not seasoned or salted) is enough for 1 hearty salad. Additionally, these small seeds are packed with

  • Approximately 3/4 of your daily allowance of Vitamin E- a fat soluble antioxidant that protects the cells from free radicals and some say that it contributes to healthy, glowing skin
  • A variety of other nutrients that include selenium, folate, copper, zinc, iron, and magnesium 

Cucumbers- In my area, cucumbers range from $.50 to $.75 each so buying one or two isn't that big of a problem.
  • They are low calorie vegetables that contains no saturated fats or cholesterol! Plus the peel (which I always leave on) is a source of dietary fiber
  • Fresh cucumbers are now shown to have both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. 
  • Rich in a variety of vitamins and minerals including Vitamin A, B1, B6, C, & D, folate, calcium, magnesium, and potassium.
Romaine Lettuce- combined with spinach, this 106 calorie leafy green is the bulk of my salad. I have seen a bunch of romaine range from $1.28-$2.00 depending on the store and time of year.
  • PROTEIN! Romaine lettuce provides less than 1/5 of your daily needs of protein per head. Another wonderful surprise is that romaine contains 8 essential amino acids.
  • Calcium- On head contains about a quarters of your Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA).
  • Omegas-3- get your Omega-3 oils without leaving that fish taste in your mouth
  • Vitamin A as beta-carotene and Vitamin K- each head contains a staggering 1817% RDA of beta-carotene and 535%  of Vitamin K
  • Iron- if you are a vegetarian or vegan, then you should know that on head of romaine lettuce contains 6mg of iron- a significant amount for diets lacking animal protein
  • Vitamin C, magnesium, manganese, copper, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, and zinc
Spinach- This vegetable is a powerhouse packed with many health promotional and disease prevention properties and is packed with vitamins, minerals, and Omega-3s. 
  • The health benefits of spinach go beyond nourishing the eyes and building bones. Spinach eases constipation by protecting the mucus lining of the stomach lining, so that it stays free of ulcers. It also flushes out toxins from the colon.
  • Ladies: regular consumption of fresh spinach has been shown to improve skin healthy by relieving it from itchy and dry skin! Eat up!
Red Onion

  • Raw red onions provide no fat (whether saturated or trans), cholesterol, or sodium!
  • Onions provide 20% of your RDA of Vitamin C and also are a good source of dietary fiber, Vitamin B6, folate, potassium, and manganese.
Bleu Cheese/Cheddar Cheese- While cheeses are high in saturated fats, if you just sprinkle a marginal amount then you would steer clear of the high levels of saturated fats, cholesterol, and sodium- all while still getting a small amount of protein and calcium

Broccoli- Broccoli is a good "super vegetable" that is extremely good for your health because it contains vitamins A and C, folic acid, and calcium
  • The anti-carcinogen properties present in broccoli hinder the development of prostate, cervical, and breast cancers
  • Since this cruciferous vegetable has a high potassium content, it helps maintain a healthy nervous system and also works in promoting the regular growth of muscles
  • Lastly, the high nutrient and fiber content of broccoli helps regulate blood pressure and reduces cholesterol. 
Walnuts- These nuts are a rich energy source that contain nutrients and antioxidants- and are a cheaper protein source than their animal protein counterparts
  • They are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids and are an excellent source of Omega-3s. Regular intake of walnuts is shown to lower total and LDL cholesterol and prevents coronary artery disease and strokes. 
  • The Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties that help to lower the risk of high blood pressure, breast, colon, and prostate cancers.
  • These nuts are packed with Vitamin E and the B-complex of vitamins riboflavin, niacin, thiamine  panthothenic acid, Vitamin B6, and folate
Kidney Beans- Either dried or canned (watch out for the high sodium content in the canned varities) kidney beans protect your heart due to their high folate and fiber content. 
Dried Pomegranates- I like the sweetness and the marginal amount of Vitamin C- even with the high sugar content 
Banana Peppers- I like the spicy kick

At the end of it all, you have a delicious and colorful plate that is PACKED with vitamins and minerals, low fat protein, heart healthy fatty acids, and not to mention taste! 
-Eating Clean in College 

No comments:

Post a Comment