You Should Be Friends With Salad!
So often we tell each other "I should really eat more salad"... but have we lost sight of why we should eat more salad and, in fact, what a healthy salad actually looks like?
Salads are an incredibly flavoursome, low-calorie way to feature fresh, seasonal fruits and trick those fussy-eaters into enjoying more fruits and vegetables - and even legumes! More to the point, salads are the perfect option for summer as they are refreshing, hydrating, and when packed full of veggies they have so much to offer. Fresh salads are low-calorie for a large volume of food (just 0-25 calories for a whole cup of raw veggies), full of vitamins and minerals and a great source of fibre.
Cafes, restaurants, delis and supermarkets are all guilty of offering decadent salads, covered with rich dressings that make you second guess whether a salad truly is a healthy choice. However, when flavoured thoughtfully, salads can offer a surprisingly tasty and low-calorie meal option for your guests.
We're here to tell you that you can make a healthy, tasty salad, FAST without having to choose between store-bought salad or no salad at all. (None really isn't an option. Name one other fresh, low-calorie dish or side that pairs well at every meal other than salad?)
Are you too time-poor to make a healthy salad? Is that your go-to excuse before you put some frozen chicken nuggets in the oven? Healthy does not have to be a hassle and you certainly don't have to be a Masterchef to make salad tasty! Try out these easy steps to the quickest salad that's ready before your oven finishes pre-heating.
Build Your Base: Grab a bag of mixed leaves or even try a ready-made salad kit from the supermarket. Throw the whole thing in a large bowl!
Choose Your Star: Every good salad has at least one feature element that makes it memorable. Consider adding chickpeas, sliced fruit, crushed nuts etc. In a time crunch usually one of these options can be found in the cupboard.
Slice & Dice: Prepare your salad ingredients into bite size pieces. The best salads should only need a fork to be enjoyed!
Flavour: Make sure your salad packs a guilt-free punch by using low-calorie flavours such as herbs*, spices, juice, zest, vinegar or a low-fat dressing. Making your own dressings is a great way to reduce calories and and they can store for days in the fridge, prepare the night before to save time!
Mix it Up: Toss your salad and add serving utensils. Time to enjoy!
*For effortless flavour combinations, check out our previous post on herbs.
Hot Tip: Offering salad dressings on the side allows your guests to get creative and tailor their meal to suit their taste preferences (and their health goals too).
Summer in Australia means it is stone fruit season, we can finally enjoy peaches, nectarines, mangoes, plums, cherries and more. Make the most of these flavoursome seasonal fruits and don't just serve them on the fruit platter, include them in your meals too!
Whether you keep it fresh or fire up the grill, stone fruit can add an incredible burst of flavour to any salad! Try out this fresh, fast and flavoursome stone fruit salad at your next social gathering, it's sure to be a hit.
If you're looking to spice things up, look no further. Try out these healthy takes on some Christmas classics, or bring something new to the table!
Top Recipe Picks to Try This Christmas
Making your own dressings, dips, sauces and other condiments is an incredible way to reduce calories at main meals without compromising on flavour. Additionally, these homemade creations can be stored for days in the fridge - allowing you to prepare them early to save time, or even enjoy them on different meals throughout the week.
There are countless excellent reasons to find a great recipe and tailor it to suit your (or your guests) health needs, goals and taste preferences:
Spicy, zesty, sweet or sour
Remove ingredients if guests have known allergens or intolerances
If you want a salad dressing that packs so much flavour you want to lick the plate give this a try. Jamie Oliver's Zingy Fat-Free Dressing uses some fresh ingredients and simple low-fat swaps to bring you a lower-calorie burst of flavour than you can buy at the supermarket.
Another fresh find from this months Coles magazine is their Green Apple and Cucumber Tzatziki. It's a fresh take on a favourite dip that is sure to convince your guests to snack on some more freshly chopped veggies.
To compliment any salad or seafood you are planning to grill on the barbecue, try out this fresh Mango Salsa. It is the perfect addition to any feast, it is incredibly simple and flavoursome and you'll wonder why you didn't try it sooner!
Arguably the best part of any Christmas feast is the leftovers that feed you for the days following the gathering. Make the most of leftovers this season by reducing food waste and repurposing foods to create something new.
Have food-safe containers at the ready. Invite your family and friends to share the leftovers and take a container home with them. This is a great way to reduce food waste and free up more fridge-space for you!
Store and reheat safely. Some foods should not be kept as leftovers if they have been out in warm temperatures for periods of time. Make sure foods that you do keep are reheated properly the next day to keep them safe for you and your family.
Repurpose in a fun way. Try combining leftover Christmas ham, potato bake and a mixed vegetable salad into a wholegrain wrap for lunch the next day! Leftovers from fruit platters can easily be repurposed into a fruit salad or a smoothie.