Think fast; when I say diet food what’s the first thing that comes to your mind?
…..maybe bland, tasteless, cardboard…..but aside from that…..salad right? We women love salads when it comes time to think about weight loss.
More often than not though, I find my clients are making one of two mistakes which are both equally detrimental in moving you closer to your weight loss goals:
- They are eating salads so loaded with stuff like cheese, bacon, croutons, creamy dressings, nuts and loads of fruit, that they have as many calories as a cheeseburger. None of those ingredients are off limits, but there needs to be a balance.
- They are eating salads that are too skimpy. Eating a huge bowl of veggies is great, you should definitely do that. But if ALL you eat is a huge bowl of veggies for lunch, chances are you are going to be quite hungry in an hour or so and if you don’t have another healthy meal around, you could be tempted to check out what is in the breakroom or on the receptionist desk.
Salads can add great variety to your diet you just gotta do it right.
Today I have 3 delicious salad recipes that are balanced in protein, carbs and healthy fat.
This is the RIGHT way to make a salad a meal and to give your body what it needs to build lean muscle and burn fat.
Plus, they are easy to put together.
Keep in mind you can always swap out the protein source for one that you like better or have on hand. So if you don’t eat shrimp, toss in some chicken. If you don’t eat beef, use ground lean turkey instead. Make sense?
Spinach Artichoke and Salmon Salad with warm mustard vinaigrette –Serves 3
- 3 cups Baby Spinach
- 1 Head red leaf lettuce
- 1 14.75oz can Salmon, drained
- 2-4 chopped green onions
- 14oz can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
- 1 small can mandarin oranges packed in water or natural juices, drained
- ½ red pepper, chopped
- 1+ 2 Tbsp Olive oil
- 3 Tbsp sesame seeds
- 5 Tbsp Orange juice
- 2 Tbsp Balsamic vinegar
- 1Tbsp brown mustard
- Wash red leaf lettuce and tear into large pieces. Rinse baby spinach. Let both dry. Place both in a large salad bowl with chopped green onions, artichoke hearts, oranges and red pepper. Toss. Divide among plates. Divide drained salmon over plates
- For dressing: Heat 1Tbsp olive oil in a small non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add sesame seeds, stirring occasionally until golden. Remove from heat. Add orange juice, remaining oil, vinegar and mustard to pan. Stir, then pour over salad.
Shrimp Asparagus Tomato and sweet onion salad –Makes 4 servings
- 6 cups spring greens
- 1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1lb asparagus spears, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1lb large cooked shrimp (if frozen, drain and pat dry)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ½ cup red onion, very thinly sliced
- 1 small glove minced garlic
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes cut in half
- 1 medium seedless cucumber peeled and cut into ½” cubes
- 1 Tbsp capers
- 2 ounces low-fat feta cheese (omit for dairy free)
- 1Tbsp Extra-virgin olive oil
- 1Tbsp red-wine vinegar
- 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- Heat a teaspoon of olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over high heat. Add asparagus and a pinch of salt and pepper and cook, about 3 minutes, until asparagus is lightly browned and almost tender, shaking the pan to stir spears. Add onion, garlic, thawed and drained shrimp and cook, stirring about 1 minute. Remove from heat.
- Whisk remaining tablespoon of oil, vinegar, lemon juice and some salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add cooked vegetables, salad greens, tomatoes, cucumber, capers and feta cheese; toss to coat. Serve immediately.
Tantalizing Taco Salad
- 1lb Extra lean grass-fed ground beef
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 package low-sodium taco seasoning mix (or season meat with chili powder)
- 1 cup pinto or black beans, rinsed and drained
- 4 cups shredded lettuce
- shredded low-fat cheddar cheese (omit for dairy free)
- 2 tomatoes, chopped
- Bunch of fresh cilantro, washed and chopped
- 6 Tbsp. Plain Greek yogurt (omit for dairy free)
- 1 bunch green onions, chopped
- Salsa or pico de gallo of choice
- In a large nonstick skillet, brown ground beef with onion; cook until well done, not pink. Drain off fat and add taco mix with water as per package directions, along with beans and sprinkle of cilantro. Continue cooking according to package directions or until ingredients are thoroughly combined.
- Arrange six individual salad plates starting with a small layer of shredded lettuce, then top with beef/bean mixture, shredded cheese, tomatoes and cilantro. In the center add 1Tbsp Greek yogurt, sprinkle with chopped green onion and add a dollop of salsa.