We've all made resolutions to eat healthier. You start off great and then you realize all you've been eating is quinoa and lettuce. Let's talk salad... urgh. If vegans got pennies for every time they got offered a salad, they would be rich. *daydreaming*... But let's not get carried away here, the real issue today is salad's bad rep. In general, people don't love salad. We might enjoy it after a week of winter comfort foods (guilty), as a nice light lunch, etc. But we don't LOVE it, we don't lust after it. We seem to lack the excitement and enthusiasm that other foods give us, such as pancakes on a weekend morning. Here, I give you my tips to bring back that love for a big bowl of crunchy freshness.
1) PUT DOWN the packages. We've all had THAT salad, at grandma's, at old school restaurants, at cafeterias. The mainstream, pre-packaged boring lettuce and bland toppings. Break away from the drab. Making it yourself is cheaper, plus you get to pick the ingredients (none of those weird crunchy purple things)
2) Play with your lettuce. Don't confine your salad to iceberg or romaine. Try kale, arugula, spinach and other greens (brussel sprout leaves? Who knows!). Get creative. If you aren't a fan of the greens, load it up with lots of healthy toppings.
3) Get inspired. Look for recipes online, in magazines, on Pinterest etc. You might just stumble on something cool you've never thought of. (Ex: my Mexican salad below)
4) Use what's in season. Go to the farmer's market and explore (or a natural food/grocery store for those of us in colder climates). It could be anything from green beans to peaches to beets. Pick one item that you want to feature and build the rest around it. If you need help, there are lots of recipe searches online that let you specify ingredients that you want included or left out. Try the different search features on www.allrecipes.com
5) Use the 4 elements.
-greens: the basic element
-flavor: add-ins that give a punch of flavor such as onions, coconut bacon, spices, herbs, jalapeños, or sweet options like dried cranberries, fresh fruit or a sweet dressing
-creamy: avocados, beans, vegan cheese, creamy dressing, etc.
-crunchy: nuts, seeds, bell peppers, croutons, crumbled nachos, etc.
Bonus: Blend it. Green smoothies are all the rage right now. It's a perfect way to kick-start your morning or for a meal on the go. Make sure to get your greens in, add fruits (apples, bananas, berries, etc) and some extra nutrition boosters like nut butters, coconut oil, chia seeds, and avocado.
Do you have a favorite way to eat your salad? How do you get creative with your vegetables?
Let me know in the comments below or on any social media outlet!
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