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It could be overwhelming to make sure you’re giving your body what it needs when it comes to preparing a meal. We’re all about fresh salads with our fave seasonal produce! The trick to making a salad as a complete meal is to make sure you’re getting all of the necessary food groups while making your delicious salad. Here are some simple steps to turn a boring salad into a filling meal that is nutritionally complete. 


A complete dish or a balanced meal contains components from all food groups such as carbohydrates, proteins, fat and fiber. And because eating healthy is not only about nutrition, a complete meal should also be interesting and appealing in terms of taste, smell, texture, sound and sight. 




Step 1: Pick the Base


Start with your favorite selection of greens which doesn’t always have to mean lettuce. You can also add spinach, cabbage, rocket leaves, kale, thyme, mint, and/or parsley. In addition, there are colorful bases like red cabbage, grated carrots, and shallots. Each and every color contains different kinds of phytochemicals; that means different health benefits. The richer the better!  


You may think that eating big quantities of your green salad is filling and that may help you lose weight by satisfying your hunger with low caloric fibers. The truth is you’ll feel hungry again in less than an hour. What will keep you full for longer is adding proteins and carbohydrates.


Step 2: Add the Filling Ingredients


Next, choose your favorite source of protein from turkey, grilled chicken, hard boiled eggs, white cheeses, nuts, tofu, plant based meat alternatives. You may add chickpeas, beans or lentils too. This way you are adding both proteins and carbohydrates at the same time! If you’d like to make it more filling, add more carbs like boiled quinoa, wheat, or bulgur. 


Step 3: Dress It Up! 


Here come the good fats, which include olive oil and/or avocados. Now it’s time to add the dressing. Stay away from store bought dressings that are high in preservatives, salts and pro-inflammatory elements. Mix olive oil with some acidity, like lemon, lime, vinegar, mustard or a mix of all. Play around with different recipes to avoid getting bored from having the same salad all the time. 


Step 4: The Finishing Touches 


Add a crunch factor, now the veggies should be fresh and crisp but it’s always nice to add a little extra on top. One of our favorites is toasted slivered almonds, but you can add whatever nut you prefer. Croutons are delicious too! You could also incorporate Green apples or other delicious seasonal fruit to add more variety to your salad. 


One more bonus tip, after you take an instagrammable picture of your salad, toss all ingredients well with the dressing in a big bowl so that the flavor is well distributed among all bits and pieces. Et voila, bon appetit. 






Hanaa Bahmad Sabbah is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist as well as creator of @bigtimecookies_hanaa in Lebanon. She is also a home baker and decorator which shares delicious recipes and her positive approach to food culture. 


The content provided in this article is provided for information purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice and consultation, including professional medical advice and consultation; it is provided with the understanding that UTMS, LLC (“UTMS”) is not engaged in the provision or rendering of medical advice or services. You understand and agree that UTMS shall not be liable for any claim, loss, or damage arising out of the use of, or reliance upon any content or information in the article.


Author: Hanaa Bahmad

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