What makes a healthy salad? Head nutritionist at popular Sumo chain reveals her five tips for making a nutritious lunch choice
- While salads might seem a virtuous choice, not all are created equally
- FEMAIL spoke to Sumo Salad's head nutritionist, Ashleigh James, to find out
- Ashleigh shared her top five tips for making a healthy salad choice at lunchtime
- These include basing your choice on dark greens and thinking about macros
While you might think a salad is innocent enough, not all choices are created equal.
In fact, many salads served at cafes around the world contain 'hidden nasties' like high sugar, salt, refined oils and poor quality, suspect meats.
With this in mind, FEMAIL spoke to the Head Nutritionist at popular salad chain, Sumo Salad, Ashleigh James, to find out what makes a healthy salad.
Here are her top five tips.
FEMAIL spoke to the Head Nutritionist at popular salad chain, Sumo Salad, Ashleigh James (pictured), to find out what makes a healthy salad
First things first, Ashleigh said you should base your salad on dark greens where possible like spinach, kale, watercress and rocket (stock image)
1. Base your choice on dark greens where possible
When many people picture a salad, they think of iceberg lettuce and tomato.
But, in fact, Ashleigh said it's all about dark green vegetables.
'Base your salad on dark greens like spinach, kale, watercress and rocket,' Ashleigh told FEMAIL.
'These are high in phytonutrients, antioxidants and fibre. They are also high in water content, which means you get bulk for low calories.'
Choose options which come with some kale or spinach or stir some dark leafy greens though your at-home version.
Dark leafy greens also have even more benefits, after research from late last year found that a daily portion of the super foods could help to ward off dementia in later life.
Research from late last year found that a daily portion of the super foods could help to ward off dementia in later life (stock image)
2. Look for salad that is high in protein and fibre
One of the qualms many people have around salad is that it's not a very filling option, and it won't necessarily keep you full all day.
'To keep you feeling fuller for longer, look for salads which are high in protein and fibre,' Ashleigh said.
'Think ingredients like tofu, salmon, eggs, beans and lean meat.'
The head nutritionist said that adding ingredients such as these are good because they are 'low GI and will keep you satisfied throughout the day'.
Try to include one serving of one of these in each salad you eat to prevent the 3pm munchies.
Include as many colours as possible in your salad, as a rainbow option packed full of ingredients is always going to be better for you than a single one (stock image)
3. Include as many colours as possible
It's an old tip, but a good one. A rainbow salad packed full of ingredients is always going to be better for you than one that is dominant in any one ingredient:
How to choose a healthy salad
1. Base your choice on dark greens where possible.
2. Look for salad that is high in protein and fibre.
3. Include as many colours of the rainbow as possible.
4. Get an even spread of macronutrients - protein, carbohydrates and fat.
5. Ask for your dressing on the side.
'Spinach, carrot, beetroot, tomato, sweet potato, avocado, sprouts and purple cabbage are all great,' Ashleigh said.
'Don't be afraid to think outside the box either and include veggies that might traditionally be seen as cooked veggies like zucchini and mushroom.'
Mix them up and make your very own DIY salad bowl.
4. Get an even spread of macronutrients
Macronutrients - which constitute varying amounts of protein, fat and carbs - are all the rage right now in the health industry, and with good reason.
Eating the right amount of each one can help to keep you slim and healthy.
'Make sure your salad includes a serving of complex carbohydrates like brown rice, quinoa or root vegetables,' Ashleigh said.
'Then include a serving of protein and alternate meat days with veggie days.
'Finally, make sure to include some healthy fats like avocado and nuts.'
Extra virgin olive oil drizzled over a salad with some seeds is also a great option.
Make sure your salad has the correct macronutrients - so some protein like tofu or meat, some carbohydrates - ideally complex - and some good fat like olive oil (stock image)
5. Ask for your dressing on the side
Last but not least, if eating a salad on the go, Ashleigh recommends getting your dressing on the side of your meal:
'If you don't know what is in your dressing, get it on the side so you can control how much you consume,' she said.
'If you are making a dressing at home, a fail safe option is lemon juice, apple cider vinegar and a dash of olive oil.'
To find out more about Sumo Salad, please click here.
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