I chose our next challenge to be a salad a day because I think it is much more beneficial to plan to incorporate healthy foods in each day like green smoothies and a big salad than to restrict yourself of certain of foods. But, by incorporating in these healthy daily habits...that is exactly what you are doing, without restricting. Think about the amount of fresh nourishing food you would be consuming if you start with a green smoothie and then fill your lunch with a huge salad. You will naturally have the energy and momentum to want to finish the day with healthy food. When you fill that salad with tons of nutrients from raw vegetables, good quality protein and fat and some starch (optional), you will not feel deprived.
August is the perfect time for a salad challenge. There is an abundance of fresh local vegetables ready to be eaten. Whether it's from your garden...or your mom's garden, a farmers market or even the grocery store. It tastes so much better when its fresh.
For this challenge, I would like you to eat a big salad everyday. I usually like to have my salad for lunch, especially if I have it pre-made from the day before. With a three year old, our days are pretty busy (as I'm sure everyone's are) so being able to open the fridge and have lunch ready is so important. Either do up a few salads a couple times a week. Store in individual containers (mason jars work great) or have a huge bowl of salad in the fridge ready to go.
Be sure to include:
- a variety of fresh vegetables (lettuce, any leafy greens, carrot, fresh peas, cucumber, celery, tomato, zucchini, radishes, snap peas, red onion, cabbage, fresh herbs like basil, cilantro, mint
- healthy fat (nuts, seeds, avocado, olives, olive oil, etc)
- protein source (boiled egg, quinoa, salmon or any seafood, chicken, beef, nuts, seeds, chickpeas or any beans, lentils, tempeh, etc)
- optional: you may want to add a small amount of starch to it if you find you aren't getting full from just the above. I often add in whatever I have leftover in the fridge, like a bit of rice, quinoa or cold rice noodles.
- skip the store bought dressing and make your own (see recipes below for some ideas). You especially don't want the "low fat" ones. They replace that fat with sugar and tons of other additives.
- make a bunch of salads at once to last you for a few days. Mason jar salads are great because they stay fresh longer and take up less space in the fridge.
- make them tasty - add healthy fats and some crunch (things like lightly toasted seeds or nuts or a bit of dried fruit like raisins or craisins).
- switch it up by adding fruit. Think spinach and strawberry or romaine and mandarine or watermelon and cucumber, spinach and pears...
- for the most part, don't worry about following a recipe. Keep it simple and easy and use whatever fresh vegetables you have and simply dress with olive oil and salt and pepper, or olive oil, your favourite vinegar, honey or maple syrup and s&p.
- Getting bored with salad? Try out some of the recipes below. Some are a bit time consuming so make enough to last a few days.
- For a more filling salad, add a bit of quinoa, rice or rice noodles.
- Experiment with foods you haven't tried before, like tempeh (found at most health food stores).
Also, if you haven't done so already, be sure to follow me on Facebook. I will share my favourite salad recipes, tips and motivation to get you through the challenge.