This article originally appeared in Prevention.
As the seasons change, so will the ingredients in your meals, especially if you prefer fresh toppings grown close to home. Now that summer is in full swing, opting for light, refreshing meals is key—and that’s where a balanced salad comes in.
Nope, we’re not talking about your sad desk lunch. Salads can be filling, easy to make, and taste amazing. Plus, if you buy seasonal produce, you’ll save some money and pack your dish with nutrients, says Lisa Moskovitz, R.D., C.D.N., CEO of NY Nutrition Group.
To achieve an ultra-satisfying summer salad, Monica Auslander Moreno, M.S., R.D.N., founder of Essence Nutrition, says you should aim to combine at least three different veggies, one protein, and a serving of healthy fats, plus lots of “color and variety to be both psychologically and physically satiating.” Hues of oranges, reds, and greens not only look appetizing, but the variety puts more nutrition on your plate for a vitamin- and mineral-rich meal that does the body good.
Moskovitz notes that balance and experimentation go hand in hand. “A salad of just vegetables might seem like a great idea but will likely not keep you full for very long,” she says. “Get creative with your salads. Don’t just rely on raw veggies. Add in some cooked or marinated veggies, like roasted zucchini and marinated mushrooms. The variety of textures and flavors will keep the salad interesting and exciting.”