As the New Year is coming into full swing and most of us are struggling to stick to our annual resolution to “eat healthier” I pose one challenge to everyone that may help you stick to your guns: Make 2017 the year of flavor.
Eating “healthy” seems like a strenuous goal for most of us. But I promise that it shouldn’t be. How should I know? Because…
Salads, salads, salads galore! Everyday for lunch I eat a salad and look forward to it. My co-workers used to be in awe of how “good” I was for eating a salad everyday, telling me a salad a day is “too much work”, “gets repetitive”, or “isn’t filling”. But every day I ensure my salad meets three qualifications:
- It’s tasty
- It’s filling
- It’s so easy to make
But how do I make it easy, tasty, and filling?
First, I start with foods I like and always keep them in the kitchen. Then I experiment by adding other foods that compliment my favorites.
Example 1: I LOVE goat cheese. What tastes good with goat cheese? Beets–>pears–>red onion–>walnuts–>arugula. That’s an entire salad right there! Add some chicken and it’ll fill you and satisfy your taste buds.
Example 2: Avocado. What tastes good with avocado? Cilantro–> Lime–>Black beans–> corn. Add some romaine and, BAM another salad.
Example 3: Craisins. They are so sweet and satisfy my sweet tooth. What tastes good with craisins? Walnuts–> apples–> feta–>mixed greens. Add some chicken and there you go! Another salad.
And if you don’t always know what foods taste good together here’s a pro tip: Keep a variety of flavorful toppings and vegetables in your fridge. Such as craisins, feta, avocado, beets, arugula, and red onion. These ingredients can be added to most foods to add a spark of flavor.
Second, I always add a protein to ensure I’m getting enough calories in the salad. Keeping plain cooked chicken, salmon, or ground turkey in the fridge makes it easy to simple through into any salad. For my vegetarians, tofu, farro, beans, or quinoa can easily adapt to most salad types.
Third, I keep my favorite salad staples in the kitchen at all times. A salad is something you should be able to easily throw together with the leftovers in your house. I have no shame to admit I am not the biggest fan of carrots, celery, or cucumbers. But if that was all I had left in the fridge to make a salad but I also always have feta and craisins in the house, tada! Throw it all together and there’s a salad I wouldn’t think I would enjoy but actually love.
Although I’m using salad is an example, aiming to make your “healthy” dishes flavorful is key to eating healthy. Experiment with compliments to your favorite ingredients. Once you get the grasp of what tastes good together, preparing healthy meals should start feeling like an easy “throw and go” situation.
If you need more easy “throw and go” salad ideas, I’ll be posting a bunch throughout 2017!