Gator Man Salad

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If you think a salad won't satisfy your manly appetite, think again. Here's how to build a filling leafy meal, courtesy of University of Florida sports nutritionist Cheryl Zonkowski.

The "Man Salad," as dubbed by Zonkowski, was created to get Florida's football team to think outside the box when it came time to eat. Zonkowski says salads are a great way for athletes to fuel up with the nutrients they need daily.

To make the Man Salad, begin with lettuce—iceberg, romaine, bib, leaf or spinach. "The healthier kind is going to be spinach," Zonkowski notes, but you can choose whichever type you prefer.

Next, add at least two proteins (no, a double serving of Bacon Bits doesn't count). Choose any combination of lean sources such as chicken, turkey, ham, tuna, cheese or eggs.

Then, top your plate with three more vegetables. "[You] can go [with] your typical tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers or onions," Zonkowski notes. "Or [you] can…try something a little bit different…like broccoli."

To pack in the nutrients, pile on the color. "Colors indicate different nutrient contents," Zonkowski explains. "So, for example, tomatoes are red; they're a great source [of] lycopene, whereas carrots are orange and they're a great source of beta-carotene and vitamin A."

For a refreshing alternative to leafy fare, Zonkowski suggests taking the fruit route. "Get cantaloupe, watermelon, sliced strawberries [and] mandarin oranges, and then go with the balsamic vinaigrette and have a fruity salad."

The key to a satisfying and energizing salad is knowing you can try many combinations. "Part of the reason that we have so many ingredients is variety," Zonkowski says. "Variety is the key to any diet. The more variety you get, the more likely you are to get 100 percent of the vitamins and minerals you need."

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