Tag Archives: salad

New Year…New Me? Today’s Healthy Menu

I woke up this morning from a holiday food coma and felt inspired to start 2016 on a healthy note. I felt the need to “detox.”

I refuse to jump on a diet fad and eat artificial and chemical-ridden packaged diet food…not that I haven’t tried. I also have very little success with diets requiring that I eliminate something I enjoy from my diet, such as carbs or fat.

This year (or perhaps more accurately, this week) I’m going to surround my family and myself with super foods and make every effort to choose these super foods throughout the day. Here’s Day 1:

Daily Smoothie Juice

I started seeing a new internist a month ago. When I asked her what kind of daily supplement I should be taking, she said she’d rather I eat my nutrients. She said I should start every day by drinking this particular juice made in the blender rather than the juicer, so I drink all the fiber from the ingredients.

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Fill half the blender with dark greens (e.g., spinach, kale, chard).  Add a handful of blueberries, an apple (cored, not peeled), and an inch-long piece of ginger.  Throw in a few ice cubes (to make this concoction tolerable) and pour some water in the blender to get it moving.  Puree until smooth.  Don’t strain!  It’s actually quite yummy.

Breakfast: Chia Seed Pudding

This was way outside the box for me. I saw it in Giada DeLaurentis’ new book, Giada’s Feel Good Food, and thought it looked tasty. I expected it to be super-weird and gross, but I LOVE it! It’s like a healthy and crunchy version of tapioca pudding.

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Lunch: Light Waldorf Chicken Salad

Inspired by Giada’s Updated Waldorf Salad with Apple Vinaigrette from the same book, Giada’s Feel Good Food, this recipe eliminates the mayo in the traditional Waldorf Salad. Hers doesn’t have chicken, which means it’s a side salad in my opinion. Still, the vinaigrette is so flavorful, I never missed the mayo. I didn’t have grapes and I added chicken, celery and lentils.

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Dinner: Chicken Tacos…Sans Tacos

This is a regular go-to meal that I make with ground turkey, but when I made chicken for the salad, I made extra and threw it in the mix instead. I only used one chicken breast for two adults and one child! I made up for the meat with beans, corn, and peppers. We eat this with blue corn tortilla chips, so if we control ourselves with the chips, it’s very healthy and low-cal.

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In a large skillet, heat a bag of frozen sliced peppers, 1/4 cup of frozen chopped onions, half a bag of frozen corn, and a can of black beans. Chop up the chicken breast and add to the mix. Sprinkle in the following taco seasoning mix.

  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp corn starch or arrow root
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp oregano

Add 1/4 cup of water, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.

Day 1 of healthy eating was a success. I have to enjoy what I eat, but if I remind myself that food is fuel, maybe I can continue to make healthy choices. Wish me luck!

5 Ways to Make an Easier Lunch Salad #saladideas

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I enjoy a good salad and know I should eat them more often. So, why don’t I? My biggest obstacle to making a healthy salad is preparation. Fresh ingredients require some planning and preparation, and I seldom have the time to put them together to make a healthy and filling salad. I came up with some tips that help me to have all the necessary ingredients ready to throw together lunch in a flash.

1. Cut and wash vegetables in bulk.

Salad spinner

Cut enough lettuce for a few salads and leave it all in the salad spinner after washing it. Keep it in the fridge and grab a bowl full when you’re ready to make a salad. Also, wash and chop extra veggies that will keep well (carrots, celery, cucumbers, etc.) and keep them in the fridge too.

2. Cook proteins in bulk

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I don’t see the point in eating a salad without a hearty protein unless it’s a side salad. I’ll never feel full with only roughage. My favorite salad protein add-ins are grilled chicken, egg whites, and steak. I suppose some people put beans in their salads, but haven’t taken a liking to that. Problem: all these require cooking. So grill up triple and keep them in the fridge to have a few days of salad proteins on hand.

3…Or Use Leftovers

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Save that last lonely burger for tomorrow’s salad or triple the meat in your dinner recipe so you can use it in your salads. I even make extra chicken nuggets for my salads when it’s dinner for the kids.

4. Use healthy pantry items
Keep on hand some favorite non-perishable salad add-ins so it’s not just another boring lettuce-and-chicken salad. My favorite pantry salad add-ins are sliced almonds, sunflower seeds, hearts of palm, olives, and pre-packaged beets.

5. Learn how to make dressing
Have you ever made yourself a salad, then reached for the dressing on the door (that you haven’t used in quite a long time, evidently) and found that it’s expired? I have many times. My advice is to learn how to make your favorite dressing so you’re never stuck without it. My favorite is a balsamic vinaigrette that I don’t even mix ahead. Instead, I splash the ingredients on top of the salad and toss.

Quick Balsamic Vinaigrette

Splash of blasamic
Splash of my best olive oil
Dash of garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried basil
Salt and pepper to taste