Personal Trainer Shows you How to Keep Healthy Eating Exciting:
Salad, noun \?sa-l?d\ : A mixture typically composed of lettuce, tomato, cucumber and if you have an extra five minutes some other topping. Usually eaten during a rushed lunch hour out of a tupperware container.
If this describes the salad that you are typically eating then I know that you must be ready for a change (also that you are probably developing a strong aversion to lettuce). Fear not! I have some suggestions on how to turn your boring, run of the mill, salad into something far more exciting.
The Base: Greens
Please, no iceberg. Salads composed of an iceberg lettuce base have no place in this article. Try new salad bases. There are so many different types of leafy greens, you’d be amazed. Arugula has a sharp, peppery taste and is delicious with a lemon olive oil vinaigrette. Spinach I feel is overlooked far too much when it comes to salads, this dark green is a good source of Niacin and Zinc, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Protein, Vitamin A, and Vitamin C. For those feeling adventurous give bok choy a try, it goes fabulous with red peppers, carrots and a sesame soy dressing.
The Base: Legumes, Nuts, Seeds and Grains
Beans can make a great base for a salad. By adding cucumber, tomato, green onions and a light olive oil vinaigrette you have something delicious that is not only high in fiber but also has contrasting textures that will keep your mouth interested. Not feeling a cold salad? Try a warm quinoa salad with roasted autumn vegetables like brussel sprouts, parsnips and carrots. Quinoa is not only high in fiber but is also a complete protein. Adding some chopped nuts or seeds to a tossed salad is always a good idea, it adds a nice crunch, try almonds, walnuts, or roasted pumpkin seeds.
The Toppings: Protein
Always having tuna out of a can or a piece of grilled chicken with your salad can get monotonous. Try something different by switching out your canned tuna for a fresh grilled piece of salmon. Take your salad in a different direction by using a dry rub of your favorite spices on your chicken before you grill it, and then pairing your toppings to compliment your flavor choice.
The Toppings: Everything Else!
The possibilities are endless. Cut up fresh berries over red romaine, add a little feta and some raspberry vinaigrette (this salad is even better the next day). Use tangerines in an asian inspired salad and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Take your stale bread and make healthy homemade whole wheat croutons with your favorite spices.
The bottom line is that there’s no need to stay stuck in your salad rut. You can still have a healthy, go to meal in hardly anytime at all AND have it satisfy your taste buds! Experiment with different things. Don’t be afraid to pick up that new veggie at the supermarket that you’ve never heard of before, give it a try! You never know, you may find something that you truly can’t get enough of. As always, make sure to keep it healthy, keep your dressings light, and have fun with it!
Written By: Shannon Benedetto ACSM-cpt
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