In years past, I’ve felt no interest whatsoever in eating salads this time of year. Who wants cool, crisp lettuce when the outdoors ground cover it resembles is coated with a layer of frost every morning? This was my previous line of thought. Roasted veggies, or those that have taken leisurely baths in soups or stews sounded cozy and nutritious, while raw veggies fresh from the fridge sounded as appealing as a December swim in the English Channel.
But for some reason I’m interested in salads this winter. Maybe it’s the guarantee of getting in a bunch of veggie servings, or maybe that means I, as someone who dislikes winter, am really trying to ignore the fact that the season is here.
Whatever the reason, I’ve decided to kick off the New Year by eating a salad every day for the month of January. I look forward to this challenge after having had a heavy eating holiday season.
This Web MD article agrees that a salad a day is a good idea, for the fiber, the nutrients in the ingredients, the ability of salads to fill you up on minimal calories, and because it can be a good way to get in healthy fats (if you add nuts, avocado, or olive oil to your salad).
Here are some salad ideas I will undoubtedly use in January:
- Turkey or chicken Caesar salad: top lettuce with the meat, add a light Caesar or Caesar vinaigrette dressing, and a tablespoon or two of grated parmesan. Pass on the croutons and opt for a carb side instead.
- Tuna salad: top your veggies with 1/2 cup of tuna (packed in water), with 1T of light mayonnaise mixed in. Salad dressing is optional.
- Taco salad: the next time you make tacos, add the leftover meat to your vegetables, along with reduced fat cheddar. As dressing, try mixing salsa (1/4 or 1/3 of a cup) with 1 or 2T of fat-free ranch.
- Salmon salad: top your greens with grilled or blackened salmon, or canned salmon. If I’m eating blackened salmon or a flavorful grilled salmon, I might pass on the salad dressing. Otherwise, I’d go with a fat-free honey mustard vinaigrette.
- Grilled shrimp salad: just like it sounds, grilled shrimp over veggies. I’d choose the dressing depending on the spices the shrimp are seasoned with (or go with no dressing).
- Jerk pork or chicken salad: toss a little avocado in with the meat. I might also try adding a little pineapple or mango. I’d probably pass on the dressing to let the spicy flavors have control.
- Cheeseburger salad: crumble a turkey or lean ground beef burger over the greens. Add reduced fat cheddar, Swiss, feta, or any other kind of cheese that you’d normally put on a burger.
- Buffalo chicken salad: microwave and dice a breaded chicken patty. For the dressing, mix 2T of light or fat-free blue cheese dressing with hot sauce to taste.
- Harvest turkey salad: along with the turkey, go with an ounce of Havarti cheese and a tablespoon or two of dried cranberries.
- Italian salad: pair part-skim mozzarella or provolone with turkey pepperoni and/or salami. Add pepperoncini if you’d like.
Here are 10 ideas, enough to get me a third of the way through my month of salad days! I’d generally eat 3 or 4 ounces of the meat (exception: 2 oz of sliced turkey breast, and 2 or 3 oz of the shrimp) and a carb side with the salad–pretzels, baked chips, tortillas or cheese curls, or a a slice of toast or a light hamburger bun (served plain or topped with light butter substitute or olive oil, with or without spices). As far as the greenery, I’d recommend anything but iceberg lettuce (like romaine, spinach, spring mix, etc.), because iceberg will have the least nutritional value.
If you are interested in ramping up your salad eating, I hope you find something you enjoy! If you have any additional easy salad ideas, please feel free to share.