Spring is finally here! If you’re like most people, as happy as you are to welcome the warm sun, you’ve been hibernating this winter and now feel the pressure to get in shape for bikini season! To make the task of getting lighter, leaner and more fit less daunting, we recommend starting by eating more veggies—especially more salads because they are light, refreshing and can be super easy, healthy and satisfying. Yes, we did say satisfying!
The key is to have a salad that is packed with fiber, protein and quality carbs—this combination provides long-lasting energy, keeps you on an even keel and helps you to feel content. Here are four light and satisfying salads—your satiating, slimming springtime solution.
The Sweet and Savory Salad
This salad is made in a mason jar, which is all the rage! This meal is packed with superfoods that have anti-inflammatory properties, including kale, quinoa, blueberries and avocado. Avocados also are packed with heart-healthy fats and are especially great during the spring because they’re a good source of beta carotene, which helps to protect your bikini-baring skin from the sun’s harmful rays. This salad is also great when you’re on the go. Keep pre-chopped kale and leftover quinoa and tofu in the fridge so you can quickly throw the salad together. Every bite is packed with so many different flavors—we’re especially wild for the sweet fruity twists.
Makes 1 salad shaker
1-1/2 cups kale or spinach, chopped
4 oz grilled tofu (or grilled chicken breast, if you don’t have tofu)
1/3 cup quinoa, cooked
1/2 small apple, diced
2 tablespoons fresh blueberries
2 tablespoons mandarin oranges
2 tablespoons artichoke hearts, in water, drained, sliced
1/2 cup thinly sliced cucumber
2 teaspoons slivered almonds, chopped
3 tablespoons avocado, cubed (can be subbed for 1/4 cup green peas or chick peas)
1 serving Spring Vinaigrette (See below)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1-1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 tablespoons fruit-flavored vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Salt to taste
Whisk all vinaigrette ingredients together in a medium bowl. Lightly mix the kale, tofu and quinoa with the vinaigrette. Add kale mixture and half of the remaining ingredients in a tall jar or plastic salad shaker. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Note: It’s ideal to mix the dressing just before serving to keep the salad fresh and crunchy.
Nutrition Facts (with grilled tofu): 377 Calories; 46 g carbohydrate; 17 g fat; 19 g protein; 9 g fiber; 166 mg sodium
Citrus Salmon Spinach Salad
This deliciously sweet and tangy citrus salad is simple and perfect after a tough workout, because the omega-3s from the salmon and the phytonutrients from the grapefruit, spinach and cabbage help to fight inflammation and neutralize the free radicals so the body can repair more quickly. This salad is also hydrating (thanks to the grapefruit) and packed with potassium to help your body restore normal fluid balance and flush any excess water and bloat from the body. We love eating this after exercising because it makes us feel so light, clean and refreshed, but satisfied—especially thanks to the protein from the salmon and the heart-healthy fat in the avocado.
2 cups spinach
1/2 grapefruit, sectioned and sliced
1/2 cup red cabbage, (lightly steamed, optional)
2 teaspoons coconut vinegar
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 teaspoon pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup avocado, chopped
3 ounces salmon filet, grilled
Directions: Place spinach in a bowl and combine with all ingredients except salmon. Combine thoroughly. Place filet of salmon on top and serve. (If you are bringing this to the office, place it in Tupperware or use a mason jar, simply layering salmon in between the salad mixture).
Nutrition Per Serving: 374 calories; 24 g carbohydrate; 20 g fat; 26 g protein; 10 g fiber; 120 mg sodium
Edamame and Corn Salad in Bell Pepper Cups
(recipe adapted from The Nutrition Twins Veggie Cure)
Edamame are a delicious way to add fiber, protein and phytonutrients to any meal. Combined with the corn, they are the perfect one-two punch of quality carbohydrates and protein for long-lasting energy and satiety. The bell pepper adds a sweet crunch and a fun way to serve the dish. This sweet, crunchy salad is a favorite of our clients.
1 cup frozen shelled edamame
1 (8-ounce) can corn kernels, drained (or 1 cup cooked corn kernels, from fresh or frozen, no salt added canned corn optional)
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/3 cup sliced large (pitted) reduced salt black olives (like PEARLS Reduced Salt pitted California Ripe Olives) 270
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning® or seasoned salt
1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika, optional
Salt to taste
2 large red bell peppers
DIRECTIONS: In a small saucepan, cook the edamame in boiling water for 5 minutes. Pour into a strainer or colander and drain well and cool. Place the cooled edamame, corn, celery, olives, onion and cilantro into a large bowl. Add the vinegar, both oils, Old Bay Seasoning®, and smoked paprika. Toss to combine. Season with salt to taste if desired. Cut peppers in half and clean out insides. Fill each side with corn and edamame salad (approximately a generous half-cup per bell pepper half).
Per serving, 1 entire stuffed pepper (analyzed with no salt added canned corn and no salt to taste): 308 calories; 15 g total fat; 3 g saturated fat; 0 mg cholesterol; 456 mg sodium; 34 g carbohydrate; 8 g dietary fiber; 3 g sugars; 13 g protein
Hickory Apple Salad With Turkey Bacon
If you’re a traditional breakfast-lover, this salad is for you! It’s got both eggs and bacon, but it’s a lightened-up version, so you can get all the flavor you crave without sabotaging your hard work to get lean and look great in your swimsuit! We personally love Granny Smith apples in this salad because they add a great sweet, yet tart flavor, but any apple variety works well and adds a delicious sweet crunch.
6 cups spring mix salad greens
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 apples (such as Granny Smith or Gala), cut into julienne pieces
1/2 avocado, pitted, peeled and sliced
½ cup corn, fresh or canned, no salt added
4 eggs, hard boiled chopped (we use Eggland’s Best eggs because they have 25% less saturated fat than ordinary eggs)
Olive oil in spray jar
6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (divided in half)
4 slices (4 ounces) low sodium turkey bacon, cooked, crumbled
DIRECTIONS: In large bowl, toss the salad greens and thyme and spritz with olive oil; add 1 tablespoon water and half of the lemon juice (3 tablespoons) and mix. Top with apples, avocado, egg and turkey bacon. Spritz with oil, mix with another tablespoon water and the remaining 3 tablespoons of lemon. Divide the salad evenly among four salad plates and enjoy!
Nutrition Facts (analyzed using regular turkey bacon, not low-sodium and with Eggland’s Best eggs*): 263 calories; 13 g fat; 2.6 g saturated fat, 428 mg sodium; 28 g carbs; 5 g fiber; 12 g sugar; 13 g protein
*The Nutrition Twins work with Eggland’s Best, but are not being compensated for this blog.