It’s no secret that salads are healthy and they make a really good meal or snack instead of turning to junk foods. However, what you may not know is that not all salads are created equal – especially if you plan on buying salads from restaurants. These salads are actually full of calories and non-essential ingredients just to make them tasty.

Rather than buying these caloric salads, why not make your own? The next time you decide to have some healthy food, here are the ingredients you need to include in your salad to gain maximum benefits:

Lettuce  Lettuce Salad

There are quite a few types of lettuce and most of them are a great addition to a healthy salad:

Iceberg Lettuce: Add this low-calorie green to your salad. It only has 19 calories, but already has fiber, protein, and a bit of carbs. You only need ¼ of a medium size iceberg lettuce to get those nutrients.

Butter Lettuce: Even lower than iceberg lettuce on the calorie department (only 11 calories), butter lettuce can give your salad that soft texture and a touch of sweetness. It offers vitamin A, some calcium and iron, and this green is low in sodium.

Red or Green Leaf Lettuce: Add only six leaves for every serving of salad and you can get a cheerful plate with vitamins A and K. Note though that red leaf lettuce does not contain high amounts of fiber (only one gram), so add other veggies like celery, cabbage, and cauliflower which are all high-fiber greens and can help make you feel full.

Romaine: Although romaine lettuce is high in calories (30 calories), this vegetable comes with high folate content. Additionally, it has vitamin A, C, and K.


Kale Salad

One cup of kale can give your salad a huge improvement on its nutritional value. Not only does this green superfood come with vitamins A, C, and K, but this is also rich in minerals, such as potassium, calcium, and iron. Also, kale is considered one of the best vegetables for fighting cancer.


Spinach Salad with Sesame Seeds

Adding two cups of spinach to your salad can give you the nutrients you need. This green also has vitamins A, C, and K, along with fiber and iron. However, when it comes to folate, spinach is one of the richest sources around. It even beats kale, which is considered the king of all vegetables.

When still deciding for the base of your salad, it is best to look at the color. Studies have shown that those with darker colors contain more nutrients than those that are slightly lighter in hue.