Imagine a world where you’re not starving 20 minutes after downing the salad you packed for lunch, where you’re not bored by eating that same salad every day — a world where the perfect salad actually exists.
Naturally, there is no right or wrong way to make a bowl of greens — but the perfect salad covers a few bases: it fills you up, keeps you nourished and tastes amazing. There is a way to make a good salad without drowning it in sugary dressing or cheese and L.A. nutritionist and health coach, Shauna Faulisi is showing us how to pull it off right, every time…
The idea of eating a salad to achieve your wellness goals can seem trite, but all salads are not created equal. Salads can range anywhere from small, simple and not filling enough to Instagram-worthy, complex, but impractical.
How To Make The Perfect Salad (Every Time)
As a celebrity chef and wellness expert, I’m here to tell you that salads can be both filling and exciting. Follow the tips below and they’ll be even more beneficial to your health than you might have thought. Here’s how to do it:
Combine Macronutrients | The key to making salads satiating is to be smart about what you’re putting in them. Without properly combining macronutrients you’ll be searching for a snack in no time. Make your meal work for you by layering your salad with fat, protein and fiber to keep hunger at bay.
Let’s build the bowl by starting from the bottom:
Fiber | Your fiber will come from lettuce choice. Have fun with it and choose the lettuce that you love most. Romaine and kale are wonderful options as they have a higher fiber content than softer lettuces like arugula or spinach. If you love the latter, then go for it — just make sure you’re able to stay full for at least two hours after dining. Or do one of our favorite tricks, make your own mix of lettuce. This gives your body a plethora of different vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Fat | Fat is the key to balancing hormones, keeping your skin glow-y and maintaining a balanced weight. It’s imperative for brain function and keeping hunger at bay. We recommend half an avocado for every salad. We especially love avocados because they’re multi-dimensional, providing six grams of fiber in a half.
Protein | Protein is an essential part of our well-being. Our bodies use it to make hormones, enzymes and to build and repair muscle. We recommend adding between four to five ounces of protein to your greens, as too much protein can create an insulin spike in the body. Go ahead and pick your favorite grass-fed, organic protein as this is where you can really tailor your salad to suit what your body is craving. Remember, all foods deliver different information to the body, so if you’re eating chicken on the regular, go ahead and switch it up to a different meat or fish. Take note of how each different protein choice makes you feel energetically. Batch cook a few different proteins, or grab a rotisserie chicken at the beginning of your week, or even use the rest of last night’s dinner in your salad. It’s your salad — get creative.
Toppings | This is totally up to you. If you have steamed or baked vegetables feel free to add them. The extra fiber will make your gut happy and keep you feeling full. We love adding seasonal herbs to keep the flavors fresh and our taste buds excited. Nutritional yeast will always make your salad taste next level. Try to steer clear of grains and beans as they will increase insulin levels and drain energy later on.
Dressing | We always use the highest quality extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) we can get our hands on. Olive oil has some incredible anti-inflammatory properties from the compound oleocanthal, which is considered natural ibuprofen and is responsible for giving EVOO that burning sensation. We consider EVOO a superfood and highly recommend incorporating it into your diet whenever you can. Then add a squeeze of lemon and liberal pinches of pink Himalyan sea salt. Voila! TCM Editor’s Note: Try adding in some superfoods and adpatogens to give your dressing an extra boost.
Probiotics | To truly make your salad a nutritional powerhouse, add probiotics. Probiotics are imperative for gut health which controls digestion, inflammation, serotonin and immunity in the body. They’re important. Prebiotics are the indigestible fiber found in vegetables. They are fermentable by the beneficial microflora in your gut (remember probiotics?). Lean into the symbiotic relationship of probiotics and prebiotics to enhance the bioavailability of minerals, lower inflammation in the body and promote satiety and digestion. We suggest taking a probiotic with your salad and/or adding raw sauerkraut or kimchi to your bowl.
Voila! A perfect salad — simple, delicious and a nutritional success.
Get Shauna’s tips for making a smoothie that won’t spike your blood sugar here.
what’s wrong with adding some quinoa, amaranth, chickpeas, or black beans to my salad? I don’t understand, sometimes you guys praise these foods and say how good they are for you, name all their benefits and make clear that they are pure goodness, but then you tell me to not put them in my salad?