1. Rocket Leaves – Hands down my favorite salad leaf and I did not know anything about this until we came to Dubai. I wasted like, my whole lifetime! I’m a big salad eater and right now, no salad is ever complete without this one even if I have to wash off the sand from the locally produced rocket leaves sold in the local supermarket!
2. Cucumber – I can eat cucumber without anything so it’s just natural for this veggie to be present in my salad bowl. If we run out of salad supplies in the fridge, I’d be more than happy to dunk my cucumber in any salad dressing or in salt alone.
3. Tomatoes – Who would ever miss to put succulent ripe tomatoes in the salad mix? This is another vegetable (or fruit?) that I can munch on without anything. Funny though, as much as I love tomatoes, I can’t stomach drinking tomato juice in cans!
4. Iceberg Lettuce– We never run out of lettuce at home. We make salads, sautees and even soups with lettuce. The best part? There’s no need to use a kitchen tool, just rip the leaves and they’re ready to eat (at least that’s the way I do it). I’m good at ripping the leaves but I delegate that task to my curious little chef – – she’s good at ripping the leaves too.
5. Carrots– Thinly sliced or baby carrots tossed in. Bugs Bunny’s favorite food may not need some explanation due to its popularity and you might already know, that carrots contain the very important beta carotene which is converted into Vitamin A in the body as needed.
6. Celery– Celery, whenever we have it at home, is sliced thinly and thrown in the salad bowl. The tangy taste makes salads more tasty (in my opinion!). Not only that, celery provides an excellent source of Vitamin C and fiber. It is also a good source of folic acid, potassium and vitamins B1 and B6. Now that I am starting the nutrition blah, I have to add that celery contains phytochemical compounds known as coumarins and studies have shown that they are effective in cancer prevention and capable of enhancing the activity of certain white cells.
7. Onions– Let me make it clear: thinly tiny weeny sliced onions only since I find raw onions spicy.But little is better than nothing because onions are said to contain the antioxidant quercetin, which helps protect cells from free-radical damage. A Dutch study showed a strong correlation between eating onions and a decreased risk of stomach cancer. Go put some onions (after wiping away your tears) in your salad now!
8. Capsicum– also known as sweet peppers in red, yellow and orange is mild flavored unlike Jalapeno peppers. Chopped capsicum is tossed in my salad every single time. Among garlic and onion, we can’t run out of capsicum in our house. It is known that capsicum reduces high blood pressure, protects against some types of cancer and is useful in the treatment of chronic rhinitis. It also increases metabolism to burn a measurable number of calories at a higher rate. Trying to lose weight? You might as well include this in your diet.
9. Croutons– If we have leftover bread, I cut in into cubes, season it, saute and bake to make croutons. Since that rarely happens (bread leftover and/or my time to make them), croutons are a rarity in my salad bowl.
10. Olives– Again, this one I first tried only after our relocation to the Middle East. I swear I told myself I’d never touch olives. They look weird to me and I thought they must taste weird as well but I guess you really have to try before passing any judgment, vegetables and fruits included. To my surprise, I like it! I even now buy in supermarkets and put them in dishes I cook at home, not just on salads. Also, olives are high in monounsatureated fat, iron, Vitamin E and dietary fiber.
11. Feta Cheese – Feta cheese is a cheese of Greek origin originally made with either sheep’s or goat’s milk. It’s a little salty because it is soaked in brine to preserve its softness so I just put a small amount of crumbled cheese on top of the salad to add flavor (M likes to add feta cheese to his salad, I don’t). One interesting fact is that feta cheese made from raw milk has a natural anti-food poisoning agent and helps combat food poisoning.
12. Black Pepper – to add a little zing.
13. Italian Dressing – After tossing all the vegetables, I add my favorite dressing. Italian dressing is a vinaigrette type salad dressing consisting of olive oil, vinegar, salt, sugar, pepper, minced onions and bell peppers and other herbs.
Penn State University conducted many studies with hundreds of volunteers and found the key to preventing hunger while reducing portions is to eat “high-satiety” foods. Satiety refers to how full you feel after eating a meal. Foods with high water content (such as salads and soups) can increase the volume of the food you eat so you feel full. The meal plan is called “Volumetrics” to describe the concept of high-satiety foods.
Two of the easiest ways you can apply this to your diet is by eating a first-course salad or soup before you eat your main meal. Eating a large salad or a bowl of broth as a first course satisfies your appetite so you will eat less when the entree is served.