Salad Days

I am blessed in that I have alot of discipline and will power when it comes to eating healthy. I am not sure where this comes from but I do believe that life is about choices. We make decisions every day based on what is important to us and I believe the key to eating healthy is having the right motivation.

Nowadays I understand the power of nutrition and my motivation is to stay slim and fit, but even more important I want to be healthy. I see people everyday who are overweight and obese….who have given up and it saddens me. It seems they made the choice to live in the moment…that the instant gratification they get from food is more important than their health in the long term. Some are using food to self medicate. I was guilty of this when I was younger, so I understand.

A point I would like to get across is that not everyone has amazing will power and most of us struggle on a daily basis…. but if there is one thing you can do to improve your health it would be to eat a salad every day. And by salad I don’t mean a few greens and a slice of tomato with bacon, loads of cheese and artery clogging salad dressing on a plate.

Nowadays…a salad can be anything you want it to be…you can even add brown rice or some other cooked grain. I am a creature of habit and practically every day I eat the same salad with slight variations depending on what is in season or leftover from the day before. I don’t feel deprived when I eat a salad, I really enjoy it because it includes so many different tastes and textures.

I always start with a base of Romaine lettuce. I love the crunch of romaine and I slice it very thin. My salads always include chopped snap peas, celery, tomatoes, mushrooms, carrots and raw fennel. Then I add some kind of bean such as garbanzo or black beans. Lately one of my favorite toppings is roasted beets. I slice them thin, coat them with a little olive oil, and then roast them in the oven at 450 degrees for about 20 minutes. Then I chop them up and add to the salad. And last but not least I always grate some FRESH parmesan cheese and add that as well.

If I bought this salad at a salad bar it would probably cost over $10. I suspect it weighs over 3 lbs but you know what…that’s okay. It’s salad and it’s healthy and full of lots of raw veggies and protein from the beans and cheese. I have noticed that the best salads combine a lot of different textures and colors. I could eat a sandwich everyday but the truth is I love my salad at lunch.  It’s satifying and doesn’t leave me feeling like I need a nap after lunch.

Here are some suggestions:

Raw veggies- I like to chop them into small pieces. Green beans, celery, snap peas, tomatoes, mushrooms, cucumbers, sprouts, carrots, avocados, marinated artichokes, red, green or yellow peppers, zucchini, peas, corn

Fruit- orange slices, chopped apples, mango, pineapple, pear, strawberries

Roasted or cooked veggies- beets, parsnips, carrots, fennel, mushrooms, potatoes, sweet potatoes, red peppers, kale, brussel sprouts

Protein in small quantities-grated parmesan, cheddar cheese, chicken, fish, meat

Carbs -brown rice, quinoa, croutons made from whole grain breads

Seeds and nuts -sunflower seeds, sliced almonds, cashews

You can even throw in leftovers from last nights dinner. The more creative you are the more you will enjoy it.

Try to use a healthy salad dressing without lots of additives. No more than 1-2 tablespoons is best as they tend to be very caloric.

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