Salads: More Nutrient-Dense Than You Thought
Salads are often called rabbit food by those that don’t like it. Salad is brushed off as worthless due to its low calorie content, which many people associate with low nutritional value. This could not be farther from the truth. When made right, salad can be bursting with nutritional value!
The base of a salad is the greens. Many people think lettuce is almost worthless. Low calories, low nutrients, low value in general. That is not true. Salad is all about mixing ingredients to get the best flavor, nutrition, and satisfaction! To begin building a well-rounded, nutrient-dense salad, you must start with your base.
Four main salad greens are Romaine lettuce, kale, spinach, and cabbage.These four leafy greens pack an immense punch of nutrients and flavor, so you can customize your salad to your liking. And due to the fiber content and any toppings you add, a salad can hold you over until dinner. You simply have to build it right.
Romaine may be the most common salad base due to its widespread availability. It has a great flavor, and it is incredibly versatile! Not only that, but it is bursting with nutrients. It contains beta carotene, a compound the body uses to make vitamin A, along with vitamins K and C! On top of that, it has calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium to name a few. It also contains folate, an essential nutrient during pregnancy.
Cabbage is often included in salad mix as it has a much stronger flavor than most lettuce. It can offer some additional crunch in a salad, along with its stronger flavor. However, it also contains a ton of nutrients and vitamins. It has vitamins K, C, and B6! It also is a great source of manganese and potassium, making it an essential part of your salad.
Spinach is a common leafy green not just in salads, but in soups, dips, and even smoothies! Many people know spinach from the cartoon Popeye, who ate spinach to gain strength. The best part is, there is merit to Popeye’s reliance on the vegetable! Spinach is versatile and it contains tons of nutritional value. Spinach has carotenoids, an antioxidant that your body uses to make vitamin A, along with vitamins C, K1, and B9! Popeye certainly had the right idea with spinach, as it contains iron!
Finally, we have kale. Kale is noted as a powerful superfood, and for good reason. Kale contains vitamins A, B6, C, and K, which all work to boost immune response and keep your body strong. But it also contains copper, which is essential in small amounts for proper functioning. Kale is a leafy green that is a bit more hardy than the others on the list. It also has a slightly bitter flavor, so it will add some great depth to your salad.
Salads truly are not rabbit food. You just have to customize them to what you want and need. You can create a filling, healthy, and delicious meal if you choose the right ingredients for you. And salad will never be boring! You can always switch it up if you get tired of your regular mix. The possibilities are endless.