Happy Registered Dietitian Day!!
Geez, that picture feels like forever ago, and why was I wearing a seashell necklace from the 90s?! Hahaha. It’s been seven years since I passed the RD exam, and even longer since I went back to school. Never would I have imagined that this is where I would end up when I set out on that path! I am thrilled to be dipping my toes back in the field with Designed To Fit Nutrition, and I’ve been loving helping clients find creative ways to enjoy real food while meeting their nutrition needs.
My goal with KERF has always been to answer the question “How do you eat real food?” Most people know the why and the what. If you asked 100 people on the street “What should you eat to be healthy?” I bet SALAD would be one of the top answers. I try to eat at least one salad every day. Sometimes it’s a big meal-sized bowl packed with all kinds of things, and other times it’s a simple side salad while I’m out, just trying to get something green in my dinner. And sometimes it’s blended into a smoothie! Greens (and all vegetables) should be the foundation of our diet, so here are a few ways to eat more of them.
–Think outside of the salad box. When someone says “eat more salad”, I’m sure that the first thought of many people is a bland iceberg lettuce bowl with some gross prepared dressing. Maybe with a few mealy tomatoes and some croutons thrown in. The exact kind of “meal” that would leave you hungry 30 minutes later. Remember, salad doesn’t have to mean boring, and food bloggers will let you know that you can put anything atop of greens and make yourself a meal : )
Check out Brittany’s post on 12 meal-sized salads for lots of great ideas!
–Have a well-stocked fridge. You are only as healthy as your fridge. It’s hard to have a great meal-sized salad for lunch if all you have in your fridge is wilted mixed greens. You’ve got to do a little bit of planning to make sure you have the right ingredients. Consider these prepared salads as quick toppers for your greens too: sardine salad, tuna salad, salmon salad, egg salad, chicken salad, lentil salad, hummus. Y’all know I love some leftovers over greens too ; )
–Have a kick ass dressing already made. I happen to be super picky about bottled dressing. I had one Caesar dressing I loved from Whole Foods, but I can’t seem to find it where I used to buy it. They either moved it or it’s gone! That’s really it – anything shelf stable I find tastes too oniony or something. But the good news is that you can make your own dressing super fast. Or, if you’re on a roll, make it in advance! This is my all-time favorite creamy dressing, but most often I just go with some olive oil, lemon juice and honey drizzle, or even a drizzle of prepared pesto.
And here’s a fun little graphic I made years ago:
–Garnish with a great rich topping. This is absolutely key for me. If I have a salad that just has greens and veggies, I am left feeling a little empty (unless it’s a side salad). In my opinion, great salads need a sprinkling of good stuff: cheese, avocado, nuts, croutons. Even roasted vegetables take it to the next level. So don’t assume that if you’re having a salad you have to skip the blue cheese crumbles. Just be mindful of how much you add.
–Mix up your greens. As in, don’t always use mixed greens, which can get soooo blah. I tend to buy one type for a month, get sick of it and then switch things up. I go on kicks with arugula, kale, and crunchy romaine. Here are three of my favorite kale salad recipes: Easy Summer Massaged Greens, Tropical Kale Salad, Pesto Kale Salad.
–Procure quick proteins. To really make your salad into a meal, you need some protein and fat to sustain you. Here’s a list of my go-to toppings:
- Fried egg
- Cottage cheese
- Veggie burger
- Chicken sausage
- Smoked Salmon
But, of course, this goes back to #2 – if you don’t have these in your fridge (and hopefully already prepared!) you’re outta luck. I am always planning my dinners so I can reserve a little extra in the fridge for lunch salads the next day. But when you’re really in a pinch, canned fish and fried eggs are ready in minutes.
I wrote a post a few years ago about The Perfect Salad. I’d love to hear what yours would include!