With the warmer weather nearly here, we are getting excited for salad season to be upon us!
The variety of fresh fruits and vegetables available to us here on the warm and sunny Sunshine Coast provides a tremendous selection to be creative with. How do use everything is something that would take many blog posts to cover, but some ideas about how to give your salad an easy bit of pizzazz or a healthy twist can go a long way.
- Making a meat free salad – if you are having a salad that does not contain a source of protein, such as a meat or an egg can leave you feeling not quite as satisfied as the protein has a great satiety factor. One thing that can often be overlooked to add to a salad is legumes! Chickpeas, brown lentils, kidney beans, or cannellini beans can be a fabulous addition to your salad as they have plenty of protein in them to fill you up, and contain lots of fibre which helps to fill you up and keeps your gut bacteria healthy. Canned beans can be a fantastic option if rehydrating them can be a problem, all it takes is a quick rinse and they are ready! Mixing them with some herbs or spices, such as a pepper, curry, or mixed herb and be a great way to add some extra flavour.
- Homemade dressing – if you are wary of store bought options, this can be a great way to go. A tiny amount of olive oil mixed with lemon juice or vinegar is most peoples go to for a dressing, but other combinations such as lemon and pepper can work too. Adding foods like a small amount of olives, capers, or jalapenos (if you like hot options) can be more than enough flavour and dressing can be skipped. Balsamic vinegar works a treat!
- Adding some carbs – adding beans can be a great way to add a carbohydrate source to your salads. Salad sandwiches or wraps can be great options, but if you are looking for a lower carb option, try the following:
- Toasting a small pita bread till it’s crunchy under the grill, and then breaking it into pieces and tossing it through the salad when you are about to eat.
- Using grainy crackers to add some crouton crunch! Use 2-4 crackers, break them up and toss them through to give a little bit of extra flavour and some crunch.
- Cheese – most people love cheese in salad, but it can be very easy to go heavy handed with cheese. If you do want to use cheese, chose a strong flavoured option, such as a parmesan or fetta cheese and often the quantity you use will be much smaller.
- Fill it up! The more salad you eat, often the better. This means you are getting a greater range of vitamins and minerals in. This also helps to keep your belly nice and full between meals.
If you have any of your own ideas, please let us know and we can share these, or make a new blog which contains them. For more advice on what you need to eat for you, contact one of our Accredited Practising Dietitians.