Tips for Making a Great Salad

One of the easiest ways to stay Zoleo when you're eating out is to get a salad. Unfortunately salads are a BIG trap that causes people to fall of FAST due to intense hunger when they first start doing Zoleo. Salads are great because they're fresh, and have lots of great stuff in them, and when you throw a piece of chicken or fish on top, you have a super healthy meal (although usually not balanced). However, most salad portions you can build or buy simply don't have enough carbohydrate volume at a macronutrient level to provide what your body needs. If you notice, pre-packaged salads are usually accompanied with either bread and/or some super thick or super sweet salad dressing. Those are there to "fill you up" and are both bad. If you've been following our blog, you know to stay away from both of those and why. If not, use the search tool and look at our old blog posts to learn!

A typical salad consist mainly of either iceberg or romaine lettuce. Nutrition Data shows that 1 cup of iceberg lettuce provides only 2 grams of carbohydrates.

Nutrition label for iceberg lettuce:

A large salad would have 2-3 cups of iceberg at most, providing 6 grams of carbs. To put that in perspective, 6 grams of carbs equals about a half a slice of white bread (which is the standard measure for glycemic load). In the end, a typical serving of lettuce provides very little from a macronutrient perspective. They do provide lots of vitamins however even those are in small quantities.

So what do you do about it? When you're at the salad bar, here are some tips for building a salad that delivers high carbohydrate volume, to totally fill you up and also stay Zoleo:

  • Get as big of a bowl or box as possible
  • Line the bottom with baby spinach (1st choice), romaine lettuce (2nd choice) or iceberg lettuce (3rd choice). This is really for decoration and crunch.
  • Load up on any green vegetable that is not leafy. I.e. Asparagus, string beans, fresh peppers (green,red,yellow), artichoke hearts
  • DO NOT add beans. It's tempting because they're so filling, but stay away. Beans have a very high lectin load and have damaging intestinal effects.
  • Load up on tomatoes. The glycemic load is moderate and they are quite filling, not to mention all of the health benefits.
  • Add a large helping of chicken or fish. This provides the balanced needed (1/3 protein, 2/3 carbs, sliver of fat) for cellular optimization.
  • Get a side of fruit. Even if you load up your bowl/box with the above, you still probably aren't getting enough carbs because the glycemic load for green items at a salad bar items is so low.

I built this at the salad bar in my cafeteria at work. It consists of:

  • Asparagus
  • String Beans
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Mozarella and tomato w/basil salad
  • Large helping of spicy chicken
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • Apple on the side

This kept me full for 4 hours, which is an indicator that I was in optimal hormonal balance. Salads are GREAT when you know how to build them!

What are your salad suggestions? Post to comments!

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Ritu Riyat is an applied yoga and mindfulness expert. She equips her clients with tools to reconnect with their bodies, eliminate stress, and make more informed decisions about their health and well being.

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4 thoughts on “Tips for Making a Great Salad

  1. smita
    November 2, 2009 at 9:48 pm

    are string beans considered beans?

  2. Jennifer
    November 3, 2009 at 4:46 pm

    I thought lectin was mostly risky with uncooked beans, but thought canned ones were fine? Also, isnt lectin present in raw tomatoes?

  3. April 28, 2010 at 7:28 am

    Food historians say the Greeks and Romans ate mixed greens and dressing, and the Babylonians were known to have dressed greens with oil and vinegar two thousand years ago.

  4. AJ
    April 29, 2010 at 7:23 am

    Interesting info!

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