There’s no diet without salads included in the the menu, although a salad is not always the lean food we think it is.
A salad can contain vegetables and fruits together with cheese, chicken meat, fish, nuts, eggs, legumes, cereals, dry fruits, croutons, tofu, edible flowers and what not. The contents and the quantities give us a large variety of dishes.
These dishes can be considered as a whole meal, a satisfying one and rich with essential nutritional substances. For example, in vegetables and fruits there’s a high water percentage, and they are rich in vitamins and minerals essential to your body. On the other hand, there are a few things you need to know about salads, a couple of “dark secrets” you need to be aware of, in order to maximize the contribution of eating salads to your diet and health:
1. Don’t eat too much of it!
Although it’s true that a green salad is low on calories, it’s not good to accustom your stomach to such a big volume of food, because the volume of the stomach and fullness are connected: sensors located on the stomach wall are adapted to the volume and pressure produces by the liquids and food. This means that the next time you’ll eat you’ll need the same food volume in order to feel full, only now it won’t necessary be lettuce any more…
2. Hungry AGAIN?!
A salad made of vegetables and fruits alone will make you feel full for a short period of time. That’s because fruits and vegetables are made mostly of water, which is digested very quickly in your stomach.
3. What are you adding to your salad?
A combination of salad toppings of cheese, red meat, chicken meat contributes to a long lasting fullness, thanks to their long digestion process in the stomach. These toppings may also be high in energy, which will cause an innocent looking green salad to become a high calorie, not so lean salad.
4. Keep it down with the oil
A salad Vinaigrette sauce is usually made out of 3 things: oil, vinegar / lemon juice and different spices. The higher the oil quantity is (even if you’re using olive oil!) - the higher the calorie amount in the sauce!
5. Don’t give up on the salad dressing
A good salad dressing is usually very healthy and contains a substantial amount of vitamins and minerals secreted and melted out of the fruits and vegetables.
6. Dark green leafs are good for you
Don’t throw away those dark green lettuce leafs, put them in your salad. They contain much more minerals and vitamins than those lighter ones!
7. Finely chopped or roughly sliced?
The pieces size and the thickness of vegetable and fruits slices have a direct impact on the conservation of the vitamins and minerals they contain. When the surface area of the slices is bigger (which happens when you create smaller pieces, thinner slices), the loss of the nutritional components will be bigger.
8. Keep the peel on!
Avoid peeling your fruits and vegetables as much as possible. The peel has a high concentration of those all mighty vitamins and minerals.
9. Dressing - only close to eating
Pour the salad dressing as close to eating as possible. This way your vegetables will keep their “character” and crunchiness.
10. Frozen is also O.K!
Frozen vegetables contain a large portion of the vitamins and minerals of fresh vegetables, and can be a good solution for having those vegetables that are not available all year round, such as peas, beans etc…
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