Happy Weekend! This past week, I’ve been part of challenge on Instagram using the hashtag #BGBInstaChallenge on my pics. I’ll be honest, I kinda fell off the bandwagon on it. However, it was super fun and it challenged me to pick fun interesting pics to share each day based on the theme. One day in particular was #InMyBowl. This one was my favorite because the first thing that came to mind was SALAD! Don’t roll your eyes yet 😉 To be real, salads are a really great meal. Yeah, most people associate them with weight loss, boring, and “full of vegetables.” I’m changing the conversation on this in this post.
Most days during the week I get home late–around 8pm from teaching group fitness and training clients. The LAST thing I wanna do is stand over the stove for an hour to cook a fresh meal post workout/work. NO THANKS! So instead of take-out or going out (which I don’t really wanna do either), I prep a salad. I fill my bowl up with greens as a base, on top various types of veggies of whatever is in my fridge, cheese, nuts or seeds, dried fruit, lean protein, and a bottled or homemade vinaigrette dressing to finish it up. I don’t touch a pan. It really is an assembly only type dinner! I mean yes, if I have to cook or warm up leftovers to put on my salad I’ll whip out a pan, but its only ONE pan! Not three or four each for something special. Bonus points if your protein or veggies are already pre-cooked!
Depending on my salad, sometimes it is meal-prep approved and all you do is add the vinaigrette when you’re ready. Otherwise, the only thing I do is take out a cutting board and knife, wash my vegetables, warm-up or quickly cook my protein, and add my dressing on top and dinner is DONE! I’m pretty sure it’s assembled and ready to eat in less then thirty minutes.
What I’ve learned about salads:
- Get out of the box! Salads are more then just lettuce, tomato, and cucumber. Experiment with different flavors to make it interesting.
- Read cookbooks or look online. I like Salads by Cooking Light or any of the Runner’s World cookbooks (which are my fav)
- LAYER it UP:
- Base: greens (spinach, romaine, iceberg, kale, spring mix)
- Vegetables: A carb-rich vegetable (squash or potato) and a simple vegetable (carrots, cucumbers) pick two from each type
- Dried or fresh fruit: cranberries, apricots, raisins
- Dairy/Cheese: any shaved or crumbled cheese (parm, feta, goat) really anything you like!
- Nuts/Seeds: pecans, almonds, walnuts, flax or chia seeds
- Lean Protein: chicken, eggs (a quick cooking favorite), canned tuna, ground turkey or beef (for a Mexican inspired salad!), tofu or beans for a vegetarian or vegan option
- Dressing: bottled or homemade. I chose a low calorie/low sugar type dressing if buying. For convenience I’ve really used the bottled dressings a lot. When I’m not in a rush, I really love making my own! Check out my recipe on a simple balsamic dressing below:
Basic Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing
Makes 1 serving
1 Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp of good balsamic vinegar
1 tsp of red wine vinegar
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp honey or agave nectar
A few shakes of garlic powder or 1-2 gloves of fresh garlic
Salt and Pepper to taste
Wisk together until combined well. Pour over top of salad and enjoy!
Remember, salads can be anything you want! To make sure you’re get the most out of your salad, follow my steps above and don’t be afraid to get creative. Enjoy!