Add these foods to your greens for extra flavor, nutrition and calorie-burning power:
Chickpeas lend a mild nutty flavor and creamy texture to a bite of salad, and each little nugget provides essential nutrients, including iron, zinc, and potassium, as well as plant-based protein. Chickpeas are great for dieting because they are good source of fiber, which makes them low in calories and very filling. Add them generously to your salad knowing they are a healthy food that is naturally low in sodium and helpful for lowering cholesterol and fighting a host of diseases.
For tasty variety you can’t beat apples. Flavors run from tart to sweet and even spicy, and adding freshly chopped apple chunks to your salad gives it a nice boost of color, crunch and nutrition. Apples are naturally fat and sodium-free and they are packed with Vitamin A, C, B-6, potassium, and they offer some calcium, too. This fruit is definitely diet-friendly, containing high levels of fat-burning flavonoids and a hefty 4 grams of fiber that fills you up while giving your metabolism an extra kick.
Tanya’s tip: Don’t peel your apple. Most of the fiber in an apple is in the skin, so chop yours up skin and all!
Bell peppers make a great addition to any salad because they are colorful, flavorful, low in calories, and nutrient-dense. This vibrant vegetable runs the spectrum from deep green, red to bright yellow, and each variety has a uniquely different sweet, tangy crunchiness. Bell peppers are a nutritional powerhouse loaded with antioxidants, anti-inflammatory agents, and vitamins A, C and K. Their high water content makes them refreshing and filling, and very low in calories as well. For firm snap and bright flavor enjoy peppers freshly chopped or for a tasty change try them pickled or grilled.
Sure, almonds give any salad a nice nutty crunch, but they can also boost your good cholesterol (HDL) and they are great for bone and heart health, too! Almonds provide important nutrients you won’t get in salad vegetables, such as the antioxidant Vitamin E and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats.
Fish can be a fantastic addition to your salad because each serving is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to boost metabolism. Omega-3s affect metabolism by reducing levels of the hormone leptin, which helps the body burn fat more efficiently. Additionally, fish oil promotes weight loss by increasing levels of fat-burning enzymes while decreasing levels of fat-storage enzymes. Another plus: Fish are rich in protein, which requires more calorie-burning energy to digest than carbohydrates or fats.
Tanya’s tip: Cold water fish such as salmon, tuna, sardines, and mackerel are delicious and the best sources for omega-3s.
For delicious high fiber meal plans, recipes and tips on healthy eating, drinking and losing weight, check out my latest book, The Miracle Carb Diet: Make Calories and Fat Disappear – with Fiber!
Tanya Zuckerbrot MS, RD, is a registered dietitian in New York City and the author of two bestselling diet books: The Miracle Carb Diet: Make Calories and Fat Disappear – with fiber and The F-Factor Diet. Follow Tanya on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, and subscribe to her free weekly weight loss newsletter.