6 Steps to Create Healthy and Delicious Salads
Summer is officially here! Do you ever wonder why it is that in the summer we naturally crave more fresh and raw foods? These foods have a cooling effect on the body. The lightness and high water, fiber and vitamin content of these foods work together to act as our internal air conditioning during these warm months. At this time of year our bodies also need less dense, high-energy, warming foods because we get so much energy from being outside in the fresh air and sunshine.
Eating more salads will not only support your body’s natural detoxification systems and help you lose unwanted pounds, but it will also help balance your overall health while filling you up with delicious salads and creative meals that are simple to prepare any time of day.
There is no better season than summer to have fun creating your own fresh, tasty, and delicious salads! By simply tossing together several of your favorite raw veggies, naked or with a light, healthy dressing, you have a perfect meal for a hot summer’s day.
My 6 Steps to Create Healthy and Delicious Salads:
1. Select and mix your favorite leafy greens (lettuce, kale, spinach, watercress, arugula, endive etc) with various sliced, diced or grated veggies – like cucumbers, carrots, peppers, onions, tomatoes, cabbage, radishes, celery, olives, and beets. The possible flavor combinations are endless!
2. Fresh herbs like basil, parsley, mint, and chives are wonderful options to mix in, as they are packed full of flavor and are loaded with antioxidants.
3. Experiment adding diverse forms of protein to your salads, such as raw, unsalted nuts & seeds, beans or wild-caught seafood. My go-to nuts & seeds staples are hemp seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, ground flax seeds, chia seeds, cooked quinoa (yes, quinoa is a seed, not a grain!), almonds, cashews, Brazil nuts, and walnuts. These are all great sources of protein as well as essential fatty acids (omega 3, 6 and 9). For beans try cooked adzuki, fava, peas, and garbanzo (aka chickpeas), which are easier to digest. And for seafood, great choices are wild-caught cooked salmon, cod, halibut, shrimp, and crab.
4. Add some healthy fats! Nuts and seeds are not only great plant-based protein sources but are also amazing sources of monounsaturated healthy fats and omega-3 rich – these are the fats that do the body good! Avocados are also a wonderful source of healthy fats and are simply delicious mixed in any salad.
5. For an added zesty punch, you can experiment adding some fresh fruit to your salads. Some fruits that pair great with salads are apples, strawberries, pomegranates, blueberries, watermelon, and oranges.
6. Pick up a light and healthy dressing at your local health food store, or mix up something easy, like lemon juice, black pepper, sea salt, extra virgin olive oil, and touch of balsamic vinegar.
And voila, there you have it! Your very own delicious salad creation.
This is a great opportunity to try a new leafy green and vegetable from your local farmer’s market. What are some creative flavors you’ve never tried before? Fennel and mint? Radish and arugula? Summer squash with spinach? Share with us your thoughts and latest salad creations on the comments below.
Whatever you choose, remember … you can’t go wrong when you experiment creating your own healthy, delicious salads. Have fun and get creative with your food, and stay cool!
Did you find these tips for creating healthy and delicious salads helpful? Please let me know in the comments below and share any tips you may have of your own!