Making a lifestyle change can be overwhelming and confusing. It is often hard to know how or where to begin. I have gotten a few comments back from Double Dog Dare and they got me thinking. The first comment was "I really want to do it but I need more recipes!" and the second was basically, "We are motivated to do it but just don't know what to feed the kids!" Well, as I think back, I didn't start with a BIG 30 day diet change. I started with one task: add a salad a day to my diet. Sounds easy, huh? It is now! But it was difficult in the beginning.
So this is my Keep It Simple Smarty blog post. (I have to call you SMARTY as you are at least interested in making a healthy lifestyle change or you wouldn't be reading my blog!) Today the focus is on making a salad a day doable in the hustle and bustle of life.
KISS Salad tips.
Well, at the get go I had salad recipes and 3 different heads of lettuce I was washing, cutting up and spinning in the salad spinner daily. Then my kids got sick, my schedule got busy, and my daily chores and responsibilities caught up with me. I felt overwhelmed and really, like quitting. There were a few days when my kids were sick that I didn't get to make the salad and ended up skipping lunch. Those weren't good days!
Then I noticed something at the grocery store, pre washed and packaged organic lettuce mixes. They had arugula mix, baby spinach mix, spring mix, and on and on. I grabbed those salad mixes up like my daughter grabbed her new doll at Christmas! If I could have hugged the package like she did her doll, I would have! I was thrilled. The daunting task of washing, cutting, and spinning lettuce just vanished into thin air. My day just got 30 minutes longer!!! I can do this. I think I can, I think I can, I think I can!
As far as salad toppings I have my favorites and my favorite places to purchase them. At Costco I usually grab avocados, cherry tomatoes and bags of nuts. Sometimes I get their organic bags of apples but the bags are quite large! I usually grab organic carrots, celery, cucumbers, broccoli and cauliflower at the grocery store. Those topping are my staples. Here are a few other vegetables that you may not often think about adding to a salad but they are great: raw beets, squash and zucchini, bell peppers, radishes, and fruit, especially dates.
I want to take a second just to review the cleanest and dirtiest produce. The 14 fruits and vegetables with the highest amount of pesticide residues (so buy organic if you can) are: celery, peaches, strawberries, apples, blueberries, nectarines, bell peppers, spinach, kale, cherries, potatoes, grapes, lettuce and carrots. The 15 fruits and vegetables lowest in pesticide residues (so buy conventional) are: onions, avocados, sweet corn (buy organic if you want to be GMO free), pineapple, mangos, sweet peas, asparagus, kiwi, cabbage, eggplant, cantaloupe, watermelon, sweet potato, honey dew melon and grapefruit. http://static.foodnews.org/pdf/EWG-shoppers-guide.pdf
Do what you can organic, but the most important thing is to increase fruits and vegetables in your diet!
As far as preparation for the salad toppings, it is really minimal. The tomatoes and baby carrots need only a wash. The rest need a quick wash and chop. My salads are often NOT pretty. There are often long stalks of celery laying across the bowl and big halves of an avocado plopped right on the middle of the salad. I am usually in a hurry and don't care about presentation, only eating! Sometimes I boil eggs on Sundays and cut up toppings for the next few days to store in the refrigerator. I also have a variety of cheeses on hand to top my salad. Tofu and beans are also excellent ways to add a bit of protein. If you are interested in a non GMO diet then buy organic tofu.
Remember to watch the dressing. A salad can turn into the calories of a Big Mac due to the salad dressing very quickly! I often use peach salsa for dressing. The Central Market peach salsa is fabulous! I have a great recipe for balsamic vinaigrette. I'm scared to try it as it has fresh garlic. I don't want to be shunned by my family and friends! REMEMBER TO WATCH THE DRESSING! That is more a reminder for me than you!
Here are some foods from the Super Food list that are perfect for salads. Remember, these are some of the foods we really want to increase in our diets! Try making salads with watercress, arugula, spinach and romaine lettuce or mix them together. Also think about adding some nuts and seeds such as walnuts, pistachio nuts, sunflower seeds, or sesame seeds. Here is the link to the super food list again. http://www.eatrightamerica.com/andi-superfoods or just look back at Double Dog Dare.
You can do this! Get to the store this week and stock up on fresh produce. Start adding a salad a day to your diet. Baby steps! I know you can! I know you can! I know you can! Please feel free to add more KISS tips to this post in the comment section. We all want to know!