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5 Ways to Make your Salad More Fulfilling

Updated: Sep 5

Johnnie May McDonald - Salad Station Blogger Contributor

Learning how to make your salad more fulfilling is the key to staying healthy. When you think of a salad, you may think of limp iceberg lettuce topped with day-old veggies and copious amounts of ranch dressing. This image doesn’t entice your taste buds, nor does it make you feel as though you’d feel satisfied after eating it. Let’s reimagine how fulfilling salad can be when we add foods that are not only highly nutritious but delicious. 


It’s been said that we eat with our eyes first. Adding a variety of colors and textures will excite your sense of smell and entice your eyes. The more inviting your food looks, the more likely you are to want to eat it. If the meal is actually as satisfying as it is beautiful, you may be more likely to continue to eat healthily.

You may ask, “What if I’m new to the healthy stuff or have a picky eater? No worries! These foods won’t change the flavor of your meal. Nor are they expensive or complicated to find. 


Let’s get into it! 


1. Chickpeas (garbanzo beans)


Salad Station Garbanzo Beans - Salad Bar

Chickpeas are high in protein and a trusted replacement for meat by vegans and vegetarians. They have a mild nutty flavor which makes them easy to mix into any meal. The exorbitant amount of protein and fiber in chickpeas work together to slow digestion, which helps you feel full longer.


One ounce of chickpeas contains:


Calories: 46

Carbs: 8 grams

Fiber: 2 grams

Protein: 3 grams

Folate: 12% of the RDI

Iron: 4% of the RDI

Phosphorus: 5% of the RDI

Copper: 5% of the RDI

Manganese: 14% of the RDI


2) Quinoa (It’s pronounced KEEN-wah.)


Salad Station Quinoa - Salad Bar

It’s actually a seed, but classified as a grain. Think, a seed that is prepared and eaten like a grain. It’s also a complete protein, containing all nine essential amino acids. Quinoa takes longer to chew than other foods, it makes you feel fuller for longer. This is so important because we often think we need more food when we really need nutrient rich food.


This is the nutrient content in 1 cup (185 grams) of cooked quinoa:


Protein: 8 grams.

Fiber: 5 grams.

Manganese: 58% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA).

Magnesium: 30% of the RDA.

Phosphorus: 28% of the RDA.

Folate: 19% of the RDA.

Copper: 18% of the RDA.

Iron: 15% of the RDA.

Zinc: 13% of the RDA.

Potassium 9% of the RDA.

Over 10% of the RDA for vitamins, B1, B2, and B6.

Small amounts of calcium, B3 (niacin), and vitamin E.


3) Black Beans


Salad Station Black Beans - Salad Bar

Black beans are my absolute favorite vegetable! They’re an amazing source of fiber, protein, and folate. Not only will they keep you full, but black beans have been shown to reduce blood sugar spikes after eating a meal. So basically black beans give you all the delicious feeling flavors that you’re looking for, but none of the sugar spikes afterward. Here are some black bean nutritional facts for one cup of cooked black beans.


1 Cup cooked black beans. Calories: 227


Protein: 15.2 grams

Fiber: 15 grams

Folate (vitamin B9): 64% of the RDI

Manganese: 38% of the RDI

Magnesium: 30% of the RDI

Thiamine (vitamin B1): 28% of the RDI

Iron: 20% of the RDI


4) Spinach or Kale


Salad Station Kale - Salad Bar

Kale & Spinach are yummy ways to add more nutrients to your salad. Skip the iceberg lettuce (which is basically water with a crunch). Dark greens like spinach and kale offer potassium, iron, and fiber - which will keep you full longer. Next time you’re at the salad bar, skip the crunchy water (iceberg lettuce) and bulk up your salad base with the dark leafy stuff. It’ll give you more nutrients and deepen the flavor of your meal. 


5) Boiled eggs


Salad Station Boiled Eggs - Salad Bar

Wonderful low-calorie source of lean protein. They also contain a complete range of amino acids, this means they are a source of complete protein. You will also find vitamin D, zinc, calcium, and all of the B vitamins in one hard-boiled egg.


Here are a few more nutrient facts below:


Calories: 77

Carbs: 0.6 grams

Total fat: 5.3 grams

Saturated fat: 1.6 grams

Monounsaturated fat: 2.0 grams

Cholesterol: 212 mg

Protein: 6.3 grams

Vitamin A: 6% of the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA)

Vitamin B2 (riboflavin): 15% of the RDA

Vitamin B12 (cobalamin): 9% of the RDA

Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid): 7% of the RDA

Phosphorus: 86 mg or 9% of the RDA

Selenium: 15.4 mcg, or 22% of the RDA


Learning how to make your salad more fulfilling with dark greens, beans and legumes will keep your body fuller for longer and more energized. Don’t be afraid to try new things and add veggies of all sorts to your meal. You never know what you may love! Next time you’re at the salad bar, step outside the box and throw some black beans, chickpeas, or kale on your salad!



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