Recently I was in Wisconsin doing some cycling over the weekend. We were staying in a hotel without a kitchenette, because I figured I would be able to get enough “Monkey food” at the restaurants we patronized, plus we were only there for the weekend. Well, that was certainly not the case! I was inundated with iceberg lettuce with the little tomato slice for salads and canned vegetables for side dishes; not to mention the MSG-containing foods! You may think I’m crazy, but this is NOT the way to eat a salad! Salads are a great way to get in those extra veggies that have all those wonderful health benefits – fiber, water, vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and the list goes on…
Many people think of salads as a little side dish or an appetizer. They are very happy to get iceberg lettuce with a half of cup of thousand island dressing overflowing the sides of the plate. I’ll admit, that is a mighty tasty concoction, but it’s not healthy for most people! Well, any people!
Make your salad a nutrient power house!
We at Hauser Diet Central think that vegetables are the key part of what salads are all about! You can obtain nearly all of your nutrients from a salad if you make it correctly and think outside the bowl, I mean box! Salads are not just for sides any more! Think of your salad as a place where you can let your creative juices flow and add great-tasting nutrients at the same time!
Practical tips for making a nutrient power house salad:
Start with a nutrient-rich lettuce such as Mesclun greens, chopped romaine, spring mix, or arugula/spinach. No more iceberg lettuce!
Add some color: Add colorful nutrient-dense veggies such as chopped tomatoes, broccoli, zucchini, carrots, green beans, peas, red/green/orange sliced bell peppers, mushrooms, squash, beets, asparagus, red cabbage to name a few of my personal favorites! All Hauser Diets can have these foods!
Add a little bit of sweetness for flavor: Bears, Monkeys, and Giraffes can add a few halved red or green grapes, chopped apple slices, or grapefruit/orange slices. Otters can use just a touch of fruit and Lions need to stay away from fruit, but can choose sweeter vegetables such as carrots and squash, and of course, my all-time favorite the avocado!
Add a little crunch: Try adding a few chopped nuts, seeds, beans, or legumes. Lions and Otters can pile on the nuts and seeds because of they need the fat. Bears and Monkeys can have a few nuts, but Giraffes should stick to the legumes and beans. Garbanzo and green beans or black beans with a little salsa on top make great salad toppers that not only provide fiber, but a vegetarian source of protein.
Top with Fresh herbs: I just love some chopped fresh cilantro, dill, or basil in my salad greens. People have commented, “What makes this salad taste so great?” The secret is in the herbs!
Add some protein: Lions and Otters particularly require additional protein wherever they can get it and can make a salad a meal by adding some sliced turkey or roast beef; or mix things up with a little tuna and chopped hard boiled eggs. Monkeys and Giraffes should use lean protein sources such as fish or legumes.
Add a little zest from the onion family: One way to really pack some flavor into a salad is to sprinkle in something from the onion family— red, white, yellow onions chopped or in rings; chives or green onions make great toppers; and of course, fresh garlic is not only delicious, but nutrient-packed as well, and may just help lower your blood pressure too!
Make homemade salad dressing: Don’t take your beautiful salad and top it with chemical-laden, food dye colored bottled salad dressing. I am seriously telling you that it is not hard to whip up a salad dressing today! Check out www.hauserdiet.com for some fast and easy recipes.
Make your basic delicious vinaigrette with 1/4 cup olive oil, 3 Tbsp Balsamic vinegar, and a dash of salt and pepper (alter that ratio depending on your Diet Type). We love to add a teaspoon of plain yogurt or sour cream for a creamier dressing or a teaspoon of raw honey for a little added taste. Zip up your basic dressing with some fresh chopped herbs or salad dressing herbs from a place like www.penzeyspices.com. You will love it!
General Tips for Making Salads:
- Buy fresh and organic if possible!
- Keep things on hand to add to salads such as chopped nuts, fruits, tuna, eggs, and oil/vinegar/herbs that are specific to your Hauser Diet.
- Start with a few of the above recommendations and work on making more out of your salads!
- Consciously add salads into your meal plans. Bring a salad to work for lunch today! You can make a meal out of it!
- Think outside the salad bowl, I mean box and be creative!