3/12/11

Salad Boosters

I just LOVE salads. Not a fan of iceberg lettuce, cucumbers and croutons but rather my super-filling and heart-healthy salads that leave me satisfied and happy.


Salads can certainly be non-filling and extremely low in calories. There tends to be a stigma with salads that if you eat one you are either a vegetarian or you are on a diet.... or both. An an endurance athlete, vegetarian, future RD and someone who values her health, my goal is to get people excited about salads as an easy way to bump up the number of servings of fruits/veggies consumed in one day.

I believe you should feel confident when eating your salad, especially around other people. However, it's important, as an active athlete/fitness enthusiast, that your salad is exciting and a source of fuel for upcoming workouts.
Many people struggle with preparing and enjoying salads because 1) the salad is not filling 2) the salad is not enjoyable.
Because volume can fake a feeling of fullness, it is important to create a balanced salad so that your salad contains just enough filling nutrients to keep you from overindulging in something sweet later in the day.

I found a great article in the March 2011 issue of cooking light and thought I'd share with you several 100-calorie salad boosters to get you inspired to making some beautiful and yummy salads.
(I believe that 100 calories, added to a 30-calorie dark green salad, is extremely low for our active lifestyle. Therefore, based on your morning workout or upcoming workout, be creative and add a little more protein/carb to compliment your exercise routine. Ex. if you find yourself really hungry after a morning workout, first focus on your post workout recovery drink/snack + breakfast, then see if you want to add more peanuts or beans to your lunch-time salad).

1) Protein-packed: 2 tbsp edamame + 1 tbsp crunchy chinese noodles + 2 tbsp mandarin orange segments + 1 tbsp chopped peanuts

2) Californian - 3 tbsp cubed avocado + 1 slice center-cut bacon, crumbled + 1 tbsp shredded cheese

3) Southwestern - 2 tbsp rinsed and drained black beans + 2 tbsp sweet yellow corn + 2 tbsp crumbled queso fresco + 2 tbsp cubed avocado

4) Perfect pear up - 1/2 ounce goat cheese + 1 tbsp chopped toasted walnuts + 1/4 cup pear sliced

5) Greek - 1/4 cup sliced red bell pepper + 2 tbsp crumbled feta cheese + 1/3 cup chopped fresh cucumber + 4 sliced olives

6) Nuts, berries and blue - 1 tbsp crumbled blue cheese + 1 tbsp sweetened dried cranberries + 1 tbsp chopped walnuts

7) Classic caprese - 2 plum tomatoes + 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil + 1 ounce fresh mozzarella