How to Build a Power Salad

Not that salads ever go out of style, but the farmers' markets are currently bursting with greens, making me deem this salad season. While side salads definitely offer a green counterpoint to whatever else you’re eating, they can be standalone meals — if you know what to add. If you’re looking to turn your salad into more than just a side, follow these steps to make it into a meal.

1) Start with greens: Try to vary your greens for different textures and nutrition. Romaine gives a nice crunch, while Boston lettuce is soft and buttery. A dark leafy green like kale or Swiss chard will boost the vitamin A and K content of your salad — just slice it into fine ribbons.

2) Layer on the vegetables: Don’t just stop at lettuce. To make this into a power salad, you need variety. Dice or shred extra veggies: Carrots, celery, radishes, tomatoes, beets, cucumber, sprouts and peppers are all great choices. Go for a variety of colors and textures.

3) Pump it up with protein: While all those veggies will give your salad filling fiber, lean protein will give it even more staying power. You have lots of options: Leftover grilled chicken, steak or salmon, canned tuna or sardines, hard-boiled eggs, beans, tofu or tempeh all work.

4) Drizzle on some healthy fats: Some of the vitamins and phytochemicals — health-promoting compounds — in vegetables are fat-soluble. That means you’ll absorb them better if you eat those veggies with some fat. Go for an olive oil-based homemade salad dressing (bottled dressings tend to be loaded with sugar and salt). And/or add some nuts, seeds or avocado.

Try Giada's Halibut and Chickpea Salad to see how to put it all together.

Kerri-Ann is a registered dietitian and nutrition coach who writes on food and health trends. Find more of her work at kerriannjennings.com or follow her on Twitter @kerriannrd or Facebook.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Dinner Rush! Backyard Pasta with Mint Pea Pesto

Cooking Channel's healthy pasta with mint pea pesto is quick, easy and a great way to use any vegetables you have lying around.

Food to Pack for a Day of Biking, Hiking or Other Adventures

Keep hunger at bay on your next outdoor adventure with these simple, energy-packed snacks.

Best Foods to Bring to the Beach

Rather than wasting money and calories on the less-than-stellar boardwalk fare, why not pack a cooler of goodies to keep you refreshed all day long?

Dinner Rush! Grilled Garden Vegetable Pizza

Cooking Channel's healthy grilled veggie pizza recipe is quick, easy and a great way not to use your hot oven in the summer.

On TV

Dinner at Tiffani's

7:30am | 6:30c

Dinner at Tiffani's

8:30am | 7:30c

Dinner at Tiffani's

9:30am | 8:30c

Good Eats

10am | 9c

Good Eats

10:30am | 9:30c

Good Eats

11am | 10c

Good Eats

11:30am | 10:30c

Food: Fact or Fiction?

12:30pm | 11:30c

Food: Fact or Fiction?

1:30pm | 12:30c

Man Fire Food

2:30pm | 1:30c

SEARious Meats

3:30pm | 2:30c
On Tonight
On Tonight

The Best Thing I Ever Ate

8pm | 7c
What's Hot
What's Hot

The Best Thing I Ever Ate

New Episodes Sundays 8|7c

Pick a Side!

The Snackdown

In our new animated series, we debate the most-pressing food matters of our time, like is cereal a soup?

So Much Pretty Food Here