When it comes to salads, for me anything goes. Steak and ground sausage are two of my favorite toppings for a dark green bed of spinach. If you’re trying to add more vegetables to your diet, making a salad into a meal can be as simple as reaching for leftovers.

Chicken is a common addition for salads, but don’t get stuck in only one type of preparation. Leftover chicken breast from dinner the night before? Cube it, toss it with your favorite

One of my favorite salad creations as of late has been a southwestern inspired theme. I take cooked ground sausage, bell pepper, corn, avocado, and put it with organic spinach. I use orange juice (yes, juice) as the dressing, and finish it with a sprinkle of garlic and cilantro. I’m hungry just thinking about it! I will often crumble corn tortilla chips on top for a little salty crunch. This salad came about by assessing the leftovers in my refrigerator and getting inspired. I’ve used juice and fruit in other salad concoctions before with great results. Pineapple chunks with spinach, dried cranberries, and almond slices is another favorite of mine.

I encourage people in my nutrition lectures to take ingredients (preferably low fat, high nutrient content) that they like and mix and match to make their perfect combo. If you feel like you need a protein to make a meal, add it to the salad. You’ll feel fuller sooner, allowing you to eat less, than if you had eaten the protein by itself. Plus you’ll be getting all of the added benefits of the vitamins and minerals in the vegetables.

Here are a few guidelines you should follow:

– Choose organic produce based off of the Dirty Dozen list. Read more Here

– Avoid dressings, including low fat dressings. Try olive oil, juice, or vinegar instead.

– Avoid loading the cheese on your green salad. It adds fat, and can block some of the absorption of the vitamins in the greens.

– Don’t add your dressing until you’re ready to consume the salad.

If you would be interested in attending a nutritional lecture at no cost to you, or if you have any questions email me, drtharnish@gmail.com.

Yours in health and wellness,

Dr. Angela Tharnish