How to build the perfect salad!

How to build the perfect salad!

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If you are a salad lover like me then you know how expensive it is to constantly go out and buy salads. Sometimes its up to 15 bucks each, no thank you! The best way to go about eating salads is to do it at home. However, when you make a salad at home you sometimes miss out on the goods stuff and make sure it is nutrient dense. That is why I am here to help you build the perfect salad!

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Step 1: Pick your greens.
There are so many options for your greens. You can do mixed greens, kale, spinach, romaine or iceberg. Some have more nutrients than others so when I create my salads I do mixed greens, spinach or kale.

Step 2: Pack it with protein.
Keep your protein lean by sticking to grilled chicken, turkey or shrimp. To make sure I am getting enough protein I always make sure I have 4-6oz of protein at each meal.

Step 3: Add some color.
I am sure you have heard the phrase eat the rainbow. The best way to add color into your food is by adding fruits and veggies. Try picking one from each color group to keep things colorful:
-Red: Beats, Cranberries, Radishes, Strawberries, Bell peppers, tomatoes
-Orange: Mandrin Oranges, Carrots, Bell Peppers
-Yellow: Squash, Bell Peppers, Corn
-Green: Zucchini, cucumbers, avocado, broccoli, peas
-Blue: Blueberries
-Purple: Grapes, Olives
Or any other fruits and veggies that you can think of!

Step 4: Don’t fear the fat.
Keep the fats minimal but you do want to add some in! Nuts and seeds are a great way to add in healthy fats. If you already added avocado as one of your green toppings then you can skip out on this section. Another option is adding a type of cheese. My favorite healthy fat toppings are sunflower kernels, pumpkin seeds and crushed almonds. This also adds some crunch to keep things interesting!

Step 5: Dress it up.
Dressing can make or break the salad but it can also send the fat and sugar content sky rocketing. Your best bet would be drizzling lemon juice over the top or sticking to vinegar and a small portion of olive oil. If you want more flavor then find a yogurt based dressing that has a lower fat and sugar content. My favorite kind is Bolthouse farms dressing. This can be found in the refrigerated section of any grocery store.

Once you have steps 1-5 complete you can kick back, relax and enjoy your nutritious cost-effective salad!

Madison Murray is a certified personal trainer, a group fitness instructor, a certified sports and exercise nutrition coach and a certified functional strength coach. For more information head to www.madfitaz.com or check her out on instagram @mmmadisonmurray

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