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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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