Whether you're cutting back on carbs, looking to lose weight, or trying to incorporate more fresh foods into your life, salads are essential. But there's nothing worse than putting together a beautiful salad for lunch or dinner and still wanting more at the end of your meal. If you can relate, follow this step-by-step guide that will help you build a filling, satisfying salad to support your healthy goals, whatever they might be.
Step One: Start With Fiber-Rich Greens
Laying the foundation for any salad starts with a bed of fresh greens. While iceberg or romaine offer hydration to your plate, the real nutrition comes from fiber- and nutrient-rich dark leafy greens like kale, mixed greens, or spinach (pictured). If all of one is too much for your taste buds, then try mixing two different greens together for a little variety. Whatever you decide, start with (at least) two cups of your favorite greens.
Step Two: Slice and Dice Colorful Fresh Produce
When it comes to a refreshing salad, pile the fresh produce on heavy. We're big believers in "eating the rainbow" over here, so chop, dice, and slice a diverse mix of colorful produce to add to your bowl. Go for in-season veggies (or fruits!) for the very best textures and flavors.
Step Three: Add the Right Protein
The right amount of protein can make or break your salad. If you come to work equipped with a low-carb lunch of gorgeous greens and produce with no protein to be seen, you're going to be hankering for a snack soon after you finish.
Regardless of your diet, the average woman needs 46 grams of protein every day  — and that number goes way up if you're active! Whether it's your favorite beans (red kidneys are pictured here), lean protein like grilled chicken or fish, or a combination of the two, make sure your salad has ample protein to keep hunger at bay.
Step Four: Top Things Off With Healthy Fats
Steering clear of all fat is doing your body injustice. It may sound counterintuitive, but eating the mono- and polyunsaturated fats  can keep you healthy. Foods like walnuts, avocado, and olive oil are all plant-based sources of those omega-3-rich fats, but a little goes a long way; a few slices of avocado, a sprinkle of walnuts, or a dressing that's made up of equal parts olive oil and vinegar will do the trick.
Step Five: Eat Up