The Big Salad… how to build a meal-worthy salad

Jessica Penner, RDDinner, Recipes, Salad2 Comments

Mango Quinoa Nourish Bowl

Have you ever eaten a salad and then felt hungry again fifteen minutes later?

Then you may suffer from Small Salad Syndrome!

A big salad won’t leave you hungry, and it’s a tremendous way to help you meet your daily servings of veggies. A plate-sized salad could equal 4-5 servings of veggies!

Vegetables are important for nourishing your body with vitamins and minerals. Did you know that fruits and vegetables are the ONLY foods that have Vitamin C?

Scurvy develops when Vitamin C levels drop very low, and until recently we thought scurvy was long gone. We’re talking about a disease that was relevant when explorers first went out on the high seas. Voyaging on the water for months meant no fresh fruits or veggies, which resulted in Vitamin C deficiencies, and scurvy.

Well, doctors in Sydney have seen a resurgence of the disease in patients who eat very little fruits and only overcooked veggies (heat destroys Vitamin C).

So salads can be key in a healthy eating plan…. but they won’t do you any good if you’re hungry right away afterwards! What you need is THE BIG SALAD!

Veggies provide very little calories, so it’s important to add in other foods that will give you energy and keep you full for several hours. For a tasty meal that will keep you full for a long time, your big salad should have all of the following:

  • Greens: these will form the base of your meal. Fill your plate two-thirds full of greens. These are important for Vitamin A, K, and some fibre.
  • Other veggies/fruit: these will add a variety of flavour and nutrients, depending on what you choose. Some good choices for Vitamin C include broccoli, snap peas, citrus fruits, strawberries, red peppers, and mangoes.
  • Protein: foods high in protein are the secret weapon in a filling salad.  Protein is the nutrient that keeps you feeling full the longest. Non-dairy sources of protein are also important for iron and zinc.
  • Crunch: while crunchy foods like nuts and seeds provide important nutrients, the main reason for adding this is simply to make a better tasting salad!
  • Dressing: don’t go fat-free! The dressing is a key way to include some heart-healthy fats. Not only do our bodies need some fat, this nutrient also helps keep you feeling fuller for longer. I’ve included avocados and cheese in this category because I find that they sometimes can replace or reduce the amount of dressing needed to get a good flavour.  Try these 10 easy & healthy salad dressings you can make in less than 5 minutes!
  • Fibre (optional): for even more filling power, add in some quinoa, brown rice, or roasted sweet potatoes.

Here’s a cheat sheet you can pin, so you won’t forget how to make the BIG salad!

big salad: how to build a meal worthy salad

While you’re making your big salad, why not make a bunch and have them ready to go in the fridge? Check out this tutorial for how to prep salads in advance so that they stay fresh all week long!

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