Serious Salads

 Sometimes it’s difficult to eat in a healthy way when you are on the road. I discovered that this past year when I was on the road at least 3 weeks out of almost every month. Often you might tend to opt for a salad from the menu and feel really good about your decision initially, but then you start feeling hungry around thirty minutes later and you let your stomach growl and tell yourself it’s good for you. Then maybe you start thinking that “eating healthy food” just isn’t for you. But I’m here to propose that perhaps this isn’t really how to do healthy well.

  If there is one thing I have learned about eating well/losing weight it’s that going hungry is NEVER the answer. When you “starve yourself” ( for lack of a better term ) your body tends to act like a refrigerator, automatically storing anything it gets because it’s designed to do this. It’s a survival instinct, just in case you end up going for a long time without much food, your body wants to make sure that you will have enough stored up until you have access to plentiful nutrients again. So in reality you are gaining weight this way, not a good tactic.

 Unfortunately our bodies are not aware that we’re in a country where food is plentiful and we don’t really have to worry about starving. So what is the solution? Learn to speak your bodies language. Know about what you are eating and how it’s going to effect your body, then base your decisions off of that.

 So am I saying that salads are not really an option because they don’t fill you up? Absolutely not! But know what’s going into your body. Most of the time when fast food places or restaurants have salads on the menu they are filled with lettuce of one variety or another, some candied nuts or granola, fruit, maybe some croutons and a whole lot of salad dressing. So let’s break down what you are actually eating:  lettuce is pretty much just water, it has very little nutritional value and is basically just there to look green and take up space. Candied nuts and granola can be a nice addition to a salad but not if there is no nutritional value other than the fruit, I tend to think they come with the salad because it makes it taste better and adds some sugar to our “healthy” meal but we don’t feel that bad about it because after all we’re eating a salad right? Croutons are basically just bread and seasoning, more flavor. And salad dressing is just more sugar.

So no wonder your hungry an hour later! You’ve basically eaten some watery green stuff and some sugar with maybe a few pieces of grilled chicken.This is what happens when we don’t think about what we’re taking in enough and just leave it for someone else to think about. Like the restaurants, unfortunately though they’re just trying to get with the “healthy trend” but with as little cost to them as possible. Which means watery lettuce and a lot of salad dressing. Not that I’m hating on them! It’s just good marketing.

  What I’ve found to be helpful is making salads at home, big salads with lots of food in them. And when it comes to restaurants, just be super picky about where you’ll get a salad from and make sure there is good stuff in there!

The recipe I’m going to share is one I eat probably every other day for either lunch or dinner. And it definitely fills me up, and I eat a lot of it!

   First start with a green that is more substantial than lettuce, like spinach ( my personal favorite ), kale or maybe a mixture. At the grocery store if you buy the “spring mix” bag it has a mix of lettuce, spinach and maybe some arugula. Definitely more nutritious. I like to just go all out and get as much nutrients as possible in without straight up eating kale, so I tend to mix spinach and kale together.

Next add some fruits and vegetables that are also substantial, and you can totally mix and match here as well, depending on what you like. In the salad I usually make I’ve added tomato and avocados. Tomatoes for the flavor mostly and avocados because they are full of nutrition, good for your body when you’re trying to lose weight, and they fill up your stomach in the same way a banana would. They also taste amazing!! If you don’t like avocados, start with guacamole and try to let it grow on you because there are soooo many benefits.  I also add strawberries sometimes or blueberries depending on what we have. But this part is completely up to you! Do some research and find out what fruits and veggies you might like that would taste great on a salad!

Then add some protein if you need to. I don’t always. It depends on if I’m drinking lots of green juice or not. Greens have lots of proteins so if I have lots of green juice then I don’t need it so much. If I do need it I tend to add a few scrambled or fried eggs. But any lean meat like chicken, talapia, salmon, etc would be great too.

 Now you can add some sweet stuff! I would recommend not adding very much because the point is not to load it down with sugar so that it’s bearable. The point is to train yourself to like the things that are good for you. And you can’t really do that if it’s all just covered in sugar. I usually add at least a small amount of dressing. Thousand Island is my favorite. I also love candied nuts and granola, but in small amounts. 😉

There you have it! A recipe for a really good salad that will fill you up and leave you wanting more. All you need is:

 Nutritional and Substantial Greens.

Fruits and Vegetables.

Some type of protein.

And some sweet things on top.

Good luck creating your own!

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