There is no debate meat is a huge component of the Paleo diet, but the importance of eating a wide variety of vegetables can’t be overlooked. Vegetables are your source for lots of vitamins, minerals and micro nutrients. In fact, veggies are probably the one thing that everyone from hardcore vegans to Paleo purists can agree on.
Getting a wide variety of vegetables is harder than it looks; nobody wants to eat twelve sides with every piece of meat they eat. One of the easiest ways to incorporate a variety of vegetables into one meal is to have a salad. A salad by definition is a mixture of vegetables served with a dressing.
Even Better than Sliced Bread
One of the modern conveniences you should embrace wholeheartedly is salad in bag. Pre-made salads are fantastic; you can get them in organic varieties to make sure you’re getting the best quality of vegetables. Another thing that makes them great is you can get a mixture of five or six different types of lettuce in one place as opposed to having that many heads taking up space in your fridge, not to mention wasting less produce.
Pre-made salads are best used as the base ingredient for a salad. You can add all kinds of things to them, such as cucumbers, shredded carrots, tomatoes. Another thing most experts agree on is that with the exception of tomatoes most nutrients in vegetables are best absorbed when vegetables are eaten raw and fresh as possible.
Dressing Makes the Salad
If you’re thinking that you won’t be able to enjoy a salad and stay Paleo because you can’t eat commercial salad dressings anymore, it is time to learn how to make some. Sometimes the best part of a salad is the dressing, and you can make them easily with only three or four ingredients. Vinaigrette dressing only really require vinegar, oil, and some spices for flavor.
If the creamier dressings are more to your taste you can make your own ranch dressings that are Paleo friendly and homemade mayo is easy to do with a good blender. The point is you don’t need to feel dressing deprived. There are almost always ways to work around so you can enjoy salad the way you like it.
Side Dish or a Meal
A salad is a perfect complement to any meat dish. Some mixed greens and vinaigrette dressing go beautifully with a steak or chops. There is nothing wrong with having salad as your entree and side dish all in one. At every meal you need some protein and vegetables so when it comes to salads don’t forget the protein. You can add chopped hardboiled eggs, leftover chicken, or steak strips and seafood like lobster or shrimp top a salad beautifully. Just make sure you have fat, protein, and vegetables and you have a hearty nutritious dinner or lunch.
There are a million Paleo salad ideas on the Internet and most are Paleo by default or easily adapted to the Paleo diet. Something to keep in mind: when eating vegetables is that some of the nutrients like vitamins A, D, E and K are fat soluble. This means you need a source of fat to absorb these nutrients. Salad is healthier when it has a dressing made with a good fat like avocado oil or accompanied by an entree that contains fat.