April’s showers bring May flowers and apparently salad?!
May is National Salad Month. My favorite salads tend to be what my family terms “garbage salad” where we make a salad out of leftovers in our refrigerator. Yesterday for lunch, I used our leftover dinner which was grilled chicken breast and a lot of grilled vegetables (peppers, asparagus, tomatoes, onions). I just added romaine lettuce, kale, fetta, pumpkin seeds and some salad dressing! Not only did it taste great, it was a different twist on what we ate the night before and we decreased food waste!
My lilacs in full bloom!
Salads do not have to be boring and only contain vegetables. Adding a protein such as meat, legumes, quinoa, nuts and/or cheese can make it a meal that has some staying power and nutrient dense so you will not be hungry in an hour. Adding fruit brings a completely new taste and dynamic to a salad as well. When my kiddos where children, a favorite snack was an apple salad, where I cored an apple, filled it with peanut butter, granola and dried fruit. It was a great snack to bring in the car on the way to soccer practice; it gave them energy to practice without leaving them feeling too full and lethargic.
Remember you DO NOT have to eat “perfectly” to have a healthy diet. Developing interoceptive awareness by using all your senses when eating to slow down to taste our food, and focus on texture, hearing the crunch, seeing the beautiful colors, smelling the mouth watering aromas will help you choose foods that make you feel good, strong and empowered and not too full, lethargic and sick. It is also important to include some treat foods along the way to satisfy your taste buds and to prevent restricting too much and becoming too rigid.
Otherwise, the restriction ends in a binge and you end of up eating more of that treat food than if you allowed yourself to have it on occasion. Eating with purpose, intent and intuitively brings great freedom with eating and is a wonderful way to live!
Alison St. Germain, MS, RD, LD is a Professor at Iowa State University in the Food Science and Human Nutrition Department & a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor and is passionate about body respect and diversity and non-diet weight neutral approaches to well-being.