Fast Meals and Sides, Salad's in the Bag (cont.)

"Top your salad with roasted soy nuts," suggests Brannon. "They are a rich source of isoflavones and saponins -- phytochemicals that are proven to protect against certain cancers and heart disease."

Roasting or toasting nuts helps bring out their flavor. If you want to toast your nuts at home, toss pecans, walnuts, almonds, or pine nuts into a nonstick skillet and stir over medium heat until the nuts turn a shade darker and give off a pleasant aroma.

Make It a Meal

What's the difference between a side salad and a meal salad? Basically, a few hundred more calories and some protein. A salad becomes a meal when you add meat (try turkey or chicken breast or lean steak), seafood (shrimp, tuna, crab) or beans (kidney, garbanzo, or black), cheese, or eggs. Here are some "protein power" options:

Salad Add-In Ingredient: Protein (grams): Calories:
Chicken breast, skinless, roasted, 3 ounces 26 140
Lean London Broil beef, cooked, 3 ounces 23 176
Shrimp/prawns, cooked, 3 ounces 18 84
Reduced-fat cheese, 1 ounce 8 79
Red kidney beans, 1/2 cup 8 112
Egg whites (2) or 1/4 cup egg substitute 7 34
Mixed nuts, 1/4 cup 6 204
Gorgonzola cheese, 1/4 cup crumbled 6 102

You can get a nice dose of protein in your salad even if you're living la vida vegetarian. Adding just 1/2 cup of kidney beans, 1 ounce reduced-fat cheese and 1/4 cup of nuts brings you to 22 grams of protein.

Published August 15, 2006.

SOURCES: Karen Collins, MS, RD, CDN, nutrition advisor, American Institute for Cancer Research. Carol Ann Brannon, MS, RD, food coach; speaker; author, Functional Foods part I: Legumes, Grains, Fruits & Vegetables.

©2006 WebMD Inc. All rights reserved.

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