Build Your Own Salad
When you think of "healthy" you may think bland chicken and veggies, low carbs and a salad. You may think that in order to be healthy you can only eat boring salads. Well let me tell you - that's not true!
I design many of the Empowerment meal plans around salads, but there are many kinds to choose from. I like to encourage our clients to build their own salad. Take the base (greens) add a protein (chicken, eggs, fish or plant-based) top with whatever veggies and dressing.
Here's some tips to making a KILLER salad!
1. Find a green that works with your tastebuds and body. Lettuce can have a lot of fiber, which can cause bloating. It also has a lot of water, which your body may retain. Spinach has good properties, but can also cause gas. Kale can be bitter. None of these happen to each person - so experiment and find what you like and what works for you.
2. Shop local. A lot of times organic foods can cost more because they're imported (and have lower demand.) Especially in the summer, try to find local farmer's markets or grow your own!
3. Use pre-marinated chicken or make your chicken in a big batch. I find my chicken at HyVee - it's pre marinated and normally pretty decently priced. If I'm really honing in, I'll buy free range chickens and marinate them myself. I tend to cook 2-4 chicken breasts at the same time, freeze what I won't be using for the week and refrigerate the rest.
4. Better yet - use leftover proteins! A lot of the meals we cook have leftover protein. Salads can be topped with pork, beans, eggs, chicken, beef, turkey, ham - whatever you have! Don't restrict yourself to just chicken, because you're trying to be "healthy".
5. Clean out the fridge. I normally have a straggler of a cucumber, leftover diced onions from some meals. I tend to always keep pickled peppers on hand to use if I don't have fresh ones. You can load up your salad with whatever veggies you like.
6. Dress to impress! The dressing is really what makes or breaks a salad. You want to find a dressing that has little - if no - added sugars. A plain oil and vinegar dressing is great - or add in a spice blend. Brianna's is a great brand and almost completely vegan. You can also use hummus, guacamole, salsas or lemon juice to top it off.
7. Get out of the mind of traditional! Someone once told me - never get the cheese, you can't taste it anyway. He was talking about a burger, but the salad is the same. Cheese can be great if you're getting high quality cheeses. However, a lot of the run-of-the-mill cheeses are highly processed, therefore, taking away their redeeming qualities.