More often than not, salads are associated with dieting and losing weight – not for gaining muscle and building bulk. In fact, so often are salads linked to diets that it’s not uncommon to see bodybuilders completely refrain from eating salads, thinking of them as ‘rabbit food.’
Rabbits might eat lettuce, but lettuce certainly isn’t the only thing people put into salads. (And if you’ve eaten salads that were just lettuce, well, that explains why you don’t like salads!) There are tons of protein-packed things you can throw into a salad to turn them into a beastly post-workout snack.
Sliced, grilled chicken breast is a fantastic addition to a salad. Chicken is one of the best sources of protein, offering around 33g of high-quality lean protein per 100g. Chicken’s also a fantastic source of omega-3s and can help you pack on the muscle while helping you get rid of unwanted at.
Recipe idea: A greek salad can make fantastic use of chicken breast, thrown in with chopped peppers, cucumber, feta, Kalamata olives, onions, and some tasty vinaigrette. You’ll get a whopping 50 grams of protein for a full serving of this kind of salad.
Turkey breast pretty much offers you all the same benefits that you get from shredding up a chicken breast and chomping it down. Here’s a recipe for an amazing salad that makes use of turkey breast, and also gives you a whopping 60g of protein with only 474 calories and 17g of fat.
Recipe idea: All you need for a simple turkey salad is some turkey breast, bacon bits, blue cheese, a couple eggs, some olives and tomatoes. Grill up the turkey breast and hard boil the eggs, slice it or dice them however you feel, and then toss the lettuce and veggies with the dressing before throwing it all together.
Shrimp are a very undervalued source of protein for people who are doing intensive exercise programs. They’re amazing. Per 100 grams, shrimp will give you 24 grams of protein – more than chicken, beef, lamb or pork!
Not only does it whip them all or protein, but shrimp has less calories, signi cantly less fat, and delivers five times as much omega-3 fatty acids (the good stuff) than beef, which has the highest omega-3 content of the other meats.
Shrimp go pretty dang good in just about any salad, too. There’s not a single salad we’ve mentioned that wouldn’t be great without a few extra shrimp.
Recipe idea: Thai shrimp salad. All you’ll need is some cabbage, some peanuts, a couple gean onions, some bean sprouts, and a few tablespoons of your favourite thai, peanut, or ginger dressing. (Or a mixture of all three!) Oh, and your prawns – get as many as you feel necessary and grill ‘em up prior to making the salad.
Slice up your cabbage and onions, throw ‘em in a bowl with the sprouts and then toss the salad with your dressing. Put the shrimp and nuts on top and voila!
Yadda, yadda, yadda, what? Beef in a salad/ No, we’re not talking about taking the patty and the lettuce of of a hamburger and calling that a salad (because that would be a travesty, not a salad.) Yep, beef goes just as fabulously mixed in with some greens as it does sandwiched in between a couple buns after being grilled for a few minutes.
Recipe idea: One of the best ways to get a protein-packed salad with beef (and one of the best ways to eat beef, period) is a taco salad. If you’ve never had a taco salad before, you’re in for a life changer here.
For a taco salad, all you have to do is take your favourite taco ingredient. Lettuce, red or white onions, jalapenos, maybe some peppers, tomatoes are the basics, but this is your taco salad so get as wild as you want. Throw some guacamole on there, some green peppers, dice some garlic.
Anyway, load it up with ground beef and, instead of salad dressing, throw on a couple dollops of sour cream and salsa. Feel free to mix it up or just leave it as is so you can take specific bites as per your desires every time you chomp away.
Cheese is a pretty good source of protein, and many people don’t the sheer number of different cheese that you can buy. There are so many different kinds of cheese that even self-professed cheese haters would eventually one day end up finding one they liked.
Different cheese go for different tastes. Spiced gouda goes great by itself or with certain salads, feta goes fantastic with greek salad, parmesan is a bit better for Caesars, mozzarella balls can go great with romaine…
Recipe idea: For a good cheesy recipe, you can make a three cheese salad with a mixture of swiss cheese, feta cheese, and parmesan cheese. Get your leaf lettuce and mix it up with some toasted pecans, make a simple vinaigrette dressing by mixing some balsamic with olive oil, 50/50, with a tablespoon of Italian seasoning.
Toss the lettuce with your dressing and then throw in the cheese, mix it up, and you’re good to go! You could throw some grilled chicken or turkey breast in to get an extra protein kick, too.
If you thought salads were for rabbits, dieters, or dieting rabbits exclusively, you now know better. A salad is just a nutritious part of a complete diet, and even the sturdiest bodybuilders should include them in their meal plans because not only can salads be a great, green foundation for heaps of protein, they are also very versatile and simple to make.
A well-made salad can give you the protein kick you need to turn your dinner from a good meal into a full, fantastic, nutritional showcase that will help you get leaner and meaner. A serious salad is a staple for a serious huntress.