June Salad Challenge.  I’ve seen a lot of people posting #SaladChallenge.

Often salads are associated as health foods, as a meal that will help you lose weight, as diet food, rabbit food, but I am here to help you build a salad that will help you as you work towards your goals.

Salads are often improperly built which in the long run will backfire as you work towards you goals.  There are 3 ways this will happen:

  1. Your salad is a bed of lettuce, usually pale/white looking nutrient depleted iceberg lettuce, some cucumber, maybe some raw (dry tasting) broccoli, and some bleach treated baby carrots with the same boring (low fat) oil based salad dressing you could find (Italian) *insert snore here*.
  2. Your salad is on a bed of romaine, spinach or mixed greens and is topped with a plethora of toppings such as cheese, tortilla chips or croutons, dried fruits, fried chicken or shrimp.
  3. Maybe your salad is loaded with lots of health promoting superfoods (goji berries, pumpkin seeds, hemp or chia seeds, avocado, sweet potatoes, quinoa, salmon etc

Here’s the problem with what I’ve outlined above.

Salad #1

I’ve already outlined it’s a total snooze-fest.  Who in their right mind enjoys that salad day in and day out?  Nobody.

That salad is primarily made up of water, and at best is maaaaaybe 200 calories, the majority of it coming from your salad dressing.  This salad isn’t going to fill you up or nourish your body with an abundance of nutrients.  Thus in 30 minutes you left craving more food because your boring salad has already been fully digested and your body needs more fuel than that to get through your day.

Salad #2

Too large of portioned cheese, refined carbs, high sugar content from dehydrated fruit (can run you up to 29 grams of sugar for only 1/4cup serving.  Do I need to go into why battered and friend chicken or shrimp are bad?  I didn’t think so, but let’s look at why this is sabotaging your salad a second way, the portion of protein in your salad is off, I’m willing to bet carbs are the highest ratio in your salad if not then fat is from your dressing and toppings, then at the bottom of that is your protein.  Don’t be fooled into thinking that 2oz of chicken in your salad is all you need.

Salad #3

Don’t mistake me outlining that superfoods will sabotage your health goals, using the wrong portions of superfoods, or not knowing what portions you’re consuming will. Too much of health promoting foods are just as bad as insufficient amounts of those good foods.  At the end of the day an excess is an excess no matter how good for you the food is.

So how do you build a salad for lunch or dinner to ensure that you’re working towards your goals?

Of course, there is no one answer that will be perfect for everyone, nor can I give 1 recipe that is the ideal, I can give you an idea of how you should structure your salads, keeping in mind that you should always mix it up and avoid eating the same thing over and over again day in and day out.

2-3 cups of Leafy Greens

  • Spinach
  • Spring Mix
  • Romaine
  • Kale
  • Swiss Chard
  • Arugula

3-6oz of Lean Protein

  • Flank Steak
  • Shrimp
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Tuna Steak
  • Salmon

 ½ – 2/3 cup of Complex Carbs

  • Wild or Brown Rice
  • Quinoa
  • Sweet Potato (3-5oz)
  • Roasted Potato (3-5oz)
  • Bulger
  • Barley
  • Chickpeas
  • Black beans
  • Lentils

1 tbsp /1oz healthy fat

  • Olive oil
  • Avocado
  • Chia Seeds
  • Hemp Seeds
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Cashews
  • Almonds
  • Sesame Seeds
  • Ground Flaxseed
  • Feta Cheese
  • Goat Cheese
  • Full Fat Dairy Cheese

As an example, here is a salad I made recently that follows these guidelines

Ingredients

  • 5oz (baked) salmon
  • 1 cup Arugula
  • 1 cup Kale (stems removed)
  • 6 asparagus
  • ½ cup basmati rice (cooked)
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • Dash of dried dill

Directions

  1. Tear your kale from the stem and either tear or chop into bite sizes.
  2. Dice your asparagus into small medallions.
  3. In a sauté pan, add your kale, asparagus and if using left over rice, add in your rice. Cook on med moving often.
  4. After 3-4 minutes add in 2 tbsp of water and water sauté your veggies and rice.
  5. In your bowl drizzle olive oil over your arugula. Build a ring in your bowl leaving the center open for your warm veggies and rice.
  6. Add your water sautéed veggies to your arugula and top with baked salmon.
  7. Drizzle your apple cider vinegar over your salad.
  8. Enjoy

 

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