Updated: Apr 21, 2022
You eat salad when??? The answer is really “whenever.” Now that spring is here, I’m turning even more to vegetables and fruits - anything fresh and vine-ripened!
I tend to eat salad at least once a day... and more if I particularly like the combination of flavors. You might be wrinkling your nose at the thought of eating a salad at all, but there are major health benefits.
Let’s talk about how to build an awesome salad!
The base: dark, leafy greens. These include kale, spinach, microgreens, endive, arugula, mustard greens, turnip greens and cabbage.
Next layer: cruciferous vegetables. These include broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, collard greens, and bok choy.
Protein is required: chicken (great neutral choice), beef, tofu, egg.
Then add: fruits. Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, apples, or pears.
Then just a bit of complex carbohydrates - quinoa, beans, or butternut squash.
Then: a healthy fat. Avocado, nuts, seeds or olives.
You have the option to use a dressing like oil/vinegar or your favorite bottled dressing. You could also top off the salad with a couple of eggs - they do double duty as both protein and a fat.
Here are some of my favorite salad combos for every meal of the day (yes, even breakfast)!
Heat a frying pan to medium heat. Cook one slice of bacon, crispy. Remove most of the bacon grease from the pan.
Saute a couple of tablespoons of leeks until soft. Remove from the pan.
Add kale that has the center rib removed and has been torn into bite size pieces.
Saute, turning with tongs frequently until the kale is warmed through.
Add the leeks back into the pan and toss together. Place in a bowl.
Cook two eggs over-medium and place on top of the salad. \
Add salt and pepper, to taste.
NOTE: You can add more bacon, chicken, beef, or egg whites to make this more protein-dense.
Layer mustard greens and baby spinach in the bottom of a bowl.
Add roasted broccoli, carrots and cauliflower.
Add thinly sliced flank steak or grilled chicken.
Top with oil and vinegar.
Add spinach and arugula to a bowl.
Add diced pears, blueberries and toasted almonds.
Add a little quinoa, just enough for texture.
Top with Brianna’s French Vinaigrette.
Serve alongside the protein of your choice.
CRUCIFEROUS VEGETABLES/BACON SALAD:
Roasted brussel sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, parsnips and carrots.
1 slice crumbled bacon.
Your choice of dressing (go easy - a tablespoon is plenty).
Toss vegetables until coated with your favorite dressing.
There are a zillion combinations for salads and everyone has their favorite! Happy eating!
Maria Netherland is a Northwest Florida-based coach who is a USA Triathlon Level II Endurance and Youth & Juniors Certified Coach as well as a NASM Certified Personal Trainer and Performance Enhancement Specialist. Coach Maria loves working for athletes of all abilities, military athletes, and new triathletes as they pursue their goals. Maria is a veteran of the US Army and a United States Military Academy at West Point graduate. She can be reached at email@example.com.