Since it’s the New Year and the holiday festivities are behind us, let’s eat some vegetables shall we?
January is a time when our motivation levels tend to be riding higher than usual, and whether or not you’re a believer in resolutions or not, I’m willing to bet many of you might be
resolving trying to incorporate more veggies and salads into your diet. Yes? Well then I’ve got 3 tips to help you do exactly that! Allow me to explain while simultaneously tantalizing your tastebuds with a creation that recently came out of my kitchen.
Salads have a bad reputation, thanks to the pubs and restaurants that used to (and some still do) define the term as a couple leaves of wilted iceberg lettuce, two slices of unripe tomato, and a few slices of cucumber (if you’re lucky). The only generous thing about them is the generous drenching of said ingredients in ranch dressing, which I ate excessively as a kid and have a major aversion to now.
Thank goodness, the typical restaurant salad has come a long way. I always look forward to the delicious bowls of goodness served up at some of my favourite restaurants like Pure Juice Bar + Kitchen, Thrive Energy Lab and Fresh. Don’t you worry though – you don’t need to live near one of these foodie havens to make the new recipe I’ve got for you today! First, let’s chat about a few ways to breathe some fresh life into your salads.
1. Buy conveniently-prepared ingredients
True, they cost a little bit more than your average head of lettuce or broccoli sitting under the mister in the produce section, but pre-washed greens, shredded slaws, chopped squash etc can slash a lot of time from your salad prep process. And don’t forget (as I emphasized heavily in this post) about frozen vegetables! One less thing to chop is worth a little extra cash if it means you’re going to get another serving of greenery into your day, don’t you think?
2. Make your salad about more than just vegetables.
I adore almost all veggies but I know there are many of you (and perhaps your families) that aren’t as enthusiastic. If that’s the case, mixing in some other interesting ingredients can make it all a lot easier to get down. While plants should still be the focus, the possibilities are endless. Try to mix up the textures (crunchy, chewy, crisp, soft, smooth etc) and tastes (sweet, sour, bitter, salty) but don’t feel you always have to incorporate them all. Sometimes simple is best!
I’ve created a little printable chart for you to use for inspiration, and if you’d like to print it, you can do so by downloading the PDF here.
3. Presentation counts.
Not just with salads, but with all foods in general. Would you be more excited to eat a whole carrot, or one that’s been peeled and julienned or spiralized? I’d pick the latter, not just because spiralizing is also fun to do but also because it’s prettier to look at.
As all of you who have ever spent any time scrolling through food photos on Pinterest are aware, pretty food can make your mouth start to water FAST. That doesn’t just apply to photos of decadent brownies and fluffy cakes, so why not take a few extra minutes to chop, julienne, spiralize, peel, and present your salad in a pretty way? I promise you’ll get more enjoyment out of eating it.
Autumn Chicken Salad with Curried Yogurt Dressing // Roasted Apple and Squash Salad with Pomegranate Vinaigrette // The Best Thanksgiving Leftovers Salad Ever // Exploding Burrito Bowl // Zucchini Noodle Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing // Spicy Lime Chicken Salad // The Rainbow Vitality Salad // Middle Eastern 3-Bean Salad // Sweet n Spicy Thai Rainbow Salad
Feel like getting your veggie on? Good, because this brings me to this week’s featured recipe, a Citrus Beet and Carrot Salad that incorporates all three tips above.
This bowl is a tangled trio of beets, carrots and quinoa, tossed in a simple orange dressing. I’ve also tossed a few walnuts (yay healthy fats!) and raisins (for a hint of sweetness and a chewy texture) into the mix to keep things exciting, and served the whole salad on top of organic mesclun greens. My quinoa was already cooked, so from start to finish this only took 15 minutes to prepare. As for how long it took to eat…. I can count those minutes on one hand. 😉
To sum up, one of the biggest misconceptions about really good salads is that they’re difficult or too time consuming to make. Peeling vegetables, washing, chopping…. yes, it takes a little bit of energy. If you ask me though, the payoff is totally worth the effort and your body will thank you!
So tell me…
- Do you have any nutrition-related targets this year? How are you doing so far?
- What’s your current favourite salad ingredient?