Best spring salad recipes for weight loss, energy, immunity, and stress

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Spring has arrived, and with it a yearning for light fresh foods after months of high-calorie takeaway and heavier winter meals.

Long gone are the days when a salad translated into some lettuce, a few slices of tomato and a couple cubes of cheese (if you were lucky). Now, it’s far more common to find salads that are as hearty as a main meal, and also packed full of fresh foods that make them such a good option nutritionally.

If you’re loving your salads at the moment, here’s more salad inspiration tailored to your own lifestyle goals, from reducing stress to shedding kilos.

READ MORE: Dietitian reveals the healthiest snacks for each time of day

Chicken breast
Lean protein in the form of chicken breast is ideal for muscle repair. (Pexels)

A spring salad for… muscle repair

Chicken quinoa salad

When it comes to good-quality, lean protein you cannot go past chicken breast — with at least 20 to 30g of good quality protein per serve, when it’s teamed with nutrient-rich quinoa you have a balance of carbohydrates and protein to support muscle growth and repair that is made in heaven.

All you need to do is then add some extra virgin olive oil and fresh salad veggies, and your body and your muscles will love you. Perfect as a post-workout meal.

READ MORE: The successful way to restart healthy eating habits in lockdown

Tuna nicoise salad
Leave the potato in to keep cravings at bay. (iStock)

A spring salad for… weight loss

Tuna nicoise salad

Weight loss comes down to achieving a balance between calorie, carbohydrate and protein intake and for this reason, a tuna nicoise is the perfect salad choice if fat loss is your goal.

Packed with plenty of greens, eggs for protein and good fats and tuna, which is both rich in protein and low in fat, along with its light dressing makes this retro classic the perfect salad choice to complement your fat loss goals.

You can even ditch the potato if you prefer to keep your nicoise lower in carbs, although a few pieces of potato will help to keep your blood glucose levels regulated so you don’t crave sweet food later in the day.

READ MORE: The 14 mistakes everyone makes on a health kick

Girl eating a salad
Brown rice is ideal for an energy hit. (Pexels)

A spring salad for… for energy

Brown rice salad

If energy-rich meals is the focus of your diet, you cannot go past a wholegrain such as brown rice to give you a nutritious energy hit.

If you team your rice with some sashimi salmon, edamame, grated carrot, radish and a little sesame and soy, then you have created your own energy-rich poke bowl. Perfect for a hit of omega-3 fats (thanks to the salmon) and plenty of nutritious carbs for energy thanks to the brown rice.

READ MORE: How beginners can start getting fit and strong for summer (and beyond)

Salad
Salads are a great way to boost your immunity naturally, especially if you include beetroot and walnuts. (Pexels)

A spring salad for… boosting immunity

Beetroot walnut salad

After the year we have had, it is any wonder people are interested in eating for immunity, and a couple of nutrient-rich superfoods that tick the box when it comes to immunity are beetroot and walnuts.

Beetroot is exceptionally rich in antioxidants that help to protect the body’s cells from infection, while walnuts are also a good source of Vitamin E and zinc, both nutrients involved in immune function.

If you team your favourite beetroot, feta and walnut salad with prawns, you will further boost the zinc content of this yummy salad.

READ MORE: The healthy (and sensible) way to shred for summer

Salmon avocado poke bowl
Salmon is associated with positive mood and low anxiety. (Pexels)

A spring salad for… reducing stress

Salmon avocado salad

Of all the evidence we have that points to the calming effects of food, salmon comes up time and time again as one of the foods associated with positive mood and lower risk of developing anxiety.

If you team some delicious Tassal salmon with Vitamin E-rich avocado, some fresh greens and a little mustard or olive oil, then you will create a tasty, nutrient-rich meal packed full of the nutrients associated with better mood.

Author Susie Burrell is a leading Australian dietitian and nutritionist, founder of Shape Me, and prominent media spokesperson, with regular appearances in both print and television media commenting on all areas of diet, weight loss and nutrition.

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