“I’m so healthy–I eat a salad every day for lunch,” said Tracy, one of my newer clients.
“But,” she quickly added, “I can’t stop snacking in the afternoon. At 4:00 I tend to inhale the leftover bagels from the breakfast meetings.”
Salads are certainly healthy meals, especially if you can add some dark leafy greens such as spinach or kale. According to Chinese medicine, leafy greens help clean the blood, and since the blood pulsates through our whole body, that is a very good thing. My personal favorite reason for eating greens is that they help lift my mood. The world always appears to be a lighter, happier place after I eat a large and satisfying meal of dark, leafy greens.
But for many of us, a salad simply doesn’t cut it. If you are a salad eater who loses focus, gets sleepy, and craves sugar, this is for you. Of course, this is not the rule across the board, but many people need to have three components in their salads in order to feel satisfied and “full”: healthy protein, good fat and a whole-grain complex carbohydrate, bean or legume.
Here are some suggestions to make your next salad more satisfying:
1. Add good fats: olive oil, olives, avocados, nuts. Fats make food actually taste good and alert your body that you are eating. They also make you feel fuller, longer and keep your blood sugar levels stable, so you can think properly during that 4:00 meeting.
2. Add enough healthy protein: quinoa (yes, it’s a complete protein!), lentils, and beans. If you are someone who gets incredibly hungry one hour after eating a salad then you may need to add two servings of protein. Play with your salads and see what your body likes best.
3. Add a whole-grain complex carbohydrate: This part is tricky. Often the only really healthy complex carbohydrates are beans and legumes. These are a great addition to a salad. But if you feel like you need more, then keep a stash of sprouted crackers or pita breads at your desk to munch on with your salad. Just make sure the first ingredient on the list says 100% whole-grain. No enrichment or partially hydrogenated oils allowed.
Here are the ingredients for my favorite filling salad (you can mix-n-match the ingredients~I just throw in whatever I have at the time):
Lisa’s Filling Salad Recipe
1 lemon cut in half crosswise
1/3 cup almond oil
1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted, and chopped
1 large handful chopped raw almonds
1 Tbsp. of ground flaxseed
1 handful of dulse, rinsed (dulse is a yummy seaweed)
Sea salt (as needed)
In a large bowl, add the greens and herbs. Squeeze the citrus juices over the greens, drizzle with the oil, and sprinkle with sea salt to taste. Toss well. Add the avocado, nuts, flaxseed, and dulse and toss gently to combine.
What suggestion will you try? How about my filling salad? I would love to hear about all the “green” ideas you have, so leave your message below. Big “green” love to you!