With the weather warming up and long, balmy summer night upon us, who wants to spend their precious time slaving away in a hot kitchen preparing nutritious meals for the family? No, me either!
Have you considered salad’s as a simple, quick, nutritious and absolutely delicious way to nourish the entire family? I’m not talking about limp, soggy lettuce leaves drowning in dressing at the bottom of bowl (Yuk!).
By choosing some basic, readily available, nutrient dense ingredients (see below for some ideas), salads are a fun, colourful and creative way to pack a whole heap of goodness (vitamins, minerals, fibre & protein) into one bowl.
Better still, you really don’t need the skills of a Masterchef to easily pull together a satisfying and wholesome meal for the whole family. (Phew!).
By including as many colours of the rainbow as you can (capsicum: in red, yellow, orange and green; sweet potato; pomegranate; green leaves such as baby spinach; red onion; beetroot) a salad becomes a super appetising meal! Salads can also be considered as an easy way to cater for gluten free, dairy free, and preservative free diets, particularly during the festive season.
Start with Protein:
- Quinoa is an ideal base: a complete protein rich in iron, fibre, and magnesium and also high in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. As it has such a mild nutty flavour, you can add any flavour to it.
- Chickpeas: pack a plant-based protein punch, rich in fibre, iron, zinc, phosphorous, B vitamins. Also, help to maintain healthy blood sugar levels, increase satiety, are fat burning (bonus!) and assist in digestion.
- Traditional faves - tuna, salmon, chicken are all chock full of protein and healthy fat
Make it a feast for the eye with lots of colour:
- Sweet Potato: low GI, also contains huge doses of Vitamin A, C, B6, some calcium, potassium, iron.
- Purple cabbage or carrots for an antioxidant kick
- Greens - and not just the traditional lettuces, but also look to broccoli, spiralised zucchini, capsicums, chilis, etc.
Add interest, texture and flavour with the following:
- Hemp seeds: great source of protein as well as omega 3,6 & 9, amino acids, GLA and fibre
- Pistachios: absolutely delicious and a rich source of energy, Vitamin E, A, K, C, B Vitamins and minerals including manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc and selenium. Contain the highest amount of protein in comparison to other nuts, and are heart friendly.
- Fruit: Kids especially will appreciate the addition of fruit such as:
- mango: rich in pre-biotic dietary fibre, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, and that fragrance – summer!
- blueberries: rich in antioxidant
- pomegranate seeds rich in Vitamin C, fibre, boosts immunity and improves circulation
Don’t forget your herb and spices too!
- Tumeric: so colourful and an excellent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant
- Cumin: aids in digestion and improves immunity
- Coriander leaves: rich in Vitamin C, K, iron, and magnesium
- Parsely: rich in Vitamin K, C, A, folate and iron
Store any leftovers for lunch the next day and boost with tinned salmon or tuna.
Have fun, get creative, and see where it takes you!