A foodie's quest to turn up the heat through strength and conditioning with whole food and a hungry mind.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Five Healthy Ways to Add Protein to Your Salad

Summer salads are all over the foodie blogs and are a perfect way to cool down when the heat is up!  The versatility of salads allow almost everyone to enjoy them in some for or another.

I have been having a salad with a lot of veggies, herbs, spices, and protein for dinner each night for months now.  They never get old since there's so many ways to make each one different.  Of course, Brussels sprouts and mushrooms are almost always on my salad, and then I'll add different things from there.

In the past, I've noticed the lack of a healthy protein source for my salads, and needed to fill the void. So I came up with five simple ways to add lean protein and flavor at the same time.  Try each one of these ideas for each day of the week and enjoy the healthy variety!

1. Grilled Chicken Breast (sliced, shredded, or diced) - Grill boneless-skinless chicken breasts seasoned as you like and cut up into cubes (or your preferred serving size) to use as a salad topper.  I will cook a few on the weekend, cut up, then store in an airtight container to add extra lean protein to complete my salad.

2. Nuts and Seeds - Buy them raw and dry roast yourself, or just eat them raw. If you like a little crunch, these will pack a delicious protein punch; with so many types of nuts and seeds available, you're sure to find a favorite. An added bonus is the healthy fats you'll get from these sources too! Dry roasts sunflower seeds are always welcome on my greens, but I also enjoy pistachios, pumpkin seeds, cashews, and walnuts.
They aren't on salad, but you get the point....use them on salad!

3. Homemade Slow-cooker Veggie Protein Dressing/Dip - My ultimate favorite way to add a melting pot of flavor, spice, and everything nice protein! It's so easy! Add a few bags of your favorite frozen veggies in a slow-cooker, toss in a cup of lentils or a couple cans of beans, season to taste, and let everything cook for several hours. Once cooked, just puree in a stand or immersion blender and store in fridge to use as a thick protein dressing on your salad.  This is functional flavor at its finest!
Homemade dressing that doubles as dip? #Win!!

4. Canned Tuna or Salmon - Look for the low or no salt added fish in water for the healthiest choice. Mix with dijon mustard, lemon juice, dill, and spices to add a protein zip to your bed of greens and veggies. This is wonderful mixed in or just placed on top, and oh so easy. When they're on sale, I'll use sardines by themselves for a healthy dose of omega-3's too.
Bonus points for having tuna stuffed in mushrooms on your salad!

5. Plain, Non-fat Greek Yogurt or Cottage Cheese - Add a cool and creamy tang to your salad with yogurt! Whether mixed with a little dijon, herbs, and spices, or straight from the container, yogurt is an often overlooked choice for salads.  My favorite yogurt mix is like a Tzatziki sauce without cucumbers; I add mustard, dill, garlic and onion powder, cayenne, and pepper to plain yogurt to create a quick and healthy salad sauce.

There are many more than 5 ways to up your protein on salads, but these are my tried and true options that are easy to prepare and healthy to eat.  If you've been having the same ol' salad every day/night, zest it up and try one or all of these next time.

Geez, it feels like it's been a long week! Anyone else feel this way?  Why can't it ever feel (or even better, actually be) like a long weekend? Such is life, I guess....bleh.

Q: Are you doing anything fun this weekend? For me, fun can just be keeping myself inside and just relaxing, but there is that new Batman movie....hmm. I will definitely cook some delicious food for lunch and snacking....any ideas on what it should be?

Have a great weekend!


  1. Really an interesting snaps, I am hungry to view this snap. Blog talking ways to eat healthy and really a nice blog.

  2. To me, a salad is not complete without some grilled chicken or grilled shrimp :)

    1. Oooo, shrimp would be awesome! It's been too long since I've had shrimp. I just sauteed some bay scallops to add to my salads though, sooo good.

      Thanks for visiting and commenting!