Episode 3 – Quick and healthy salad options

Salads are great for anyone, at any age, and at any time.

Salads will add immense benefits to your health and fitness and it’s really not as difficult or complicated as some people make it out to be. Here, I’ll be sharing with you a recipe for making a simple yet complete salad for your next meal or social gathering.

 

Why salads?

Most people around the world don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables – and you’re likely to be one of them!

This has many implications on the health risk of the individual and even on the population level – such as cancer of the bowel, diabetes type II, heart disease and so on.

Vegetables and fruits have to be the best supply of nutrients for the body such as, the classic vitamins A, C, E as well as minerals such as, potassium, iron, magnesium, calcium and even trace minerals and phytochemicals (plant chemicals) are all in vegetables and fruits. Even macronutrients like fibre and “complex” carbohydrates are available in a few varieties of vegetables and fruits.

These nutrients are essential for you to live and when present in ample supply they optimise your performance – thinking, movement, speed, recovery, endurance.

In this article, I wanted to share my top 6 steps on how to make a quick salad and why salad is healthy for you.

Today you will learn:

  • What ingredients you can use
  • How to prepare them
  • What order to prepare them
  • Some basic or novel health features of food items.

 

Daily Vegetable Targets

In Australia, the general rule of thumb for vegetable targets is to eat five serves of vegetables per day (or more if possible).

 

What’s a serving size?

There’s three basic categories of vegetables:

  • Garden salad
  • Starch vegetables such as potato, pumpkin, corn, etc.
  • Other vegetables such as, cruciferous (cauliflower, broccoli), leafy green (spinach, brussels sprout), etc.

 

Garden Salads

If you’re eating salads, one cup is one serving size of salad, so if you can have five serves of salad, you’ll hit your daily target. In saying that, you don’t want to be eating salads the whole time.

 

Preparing your salad

Let’s get into it!

 

Step #1 – You’ll need some Lettuce (two or more types is good)

To start the salad you’ll need at least two different types of lettuce.

In the video, I used some romaine (green) and some butterleaf lettuce (brown) –

  • one head of romaine lettuce and
  • one head of butterleaf lettuce

Chop off some of the lettuce and pop it into the salad bowl. Check for dirt and bugs.

 

Lettuce Fun Fact

Lettuce is good for dietary fibre and if you use a leafy green vegetable like spinach (while drinking orange juice) you can get iron and calcium as well.

 

Step #2 – Pick a vegetable that’s a bright contrasting colour (such as an orange, red or pink)

Next you’ll need some tomatoes and depending on the size of the tomato possibly  5 to 7. Cut them into halves or if you use cherry tomatoes simply put them in whole.

If you don’t like tomatoes, you can just use something like Pomelo (or grapefruit). These are also very nice in their colour and contrasts the green and brown of the lettuce as well.

 

Tomato Fun Fact

Tomatoes are a really good source of lycopene.

Lycopene is found in adrenal glands, in males it’s found in the testis and also found in the eyes. If it is found in these areas it can be inferred that they play a role in those glands and body tissues – so in the case of lycopene, male hormone function and vision as well.

Lycopene is also a very good antioxidant, so good for fighting free radicals inside the body.

 

Read on for step 3 to step 7.

 

 

Step #3 – Time to change up the textures

You’ll need one to two carrots, one cucumber and a couple of bell peppers as well.

Go for different slice types to change up the texture – even try grating them into the salad bowl. For the cucumber cut them into coins or diagonal slices, whereas with the bell peppers cut them lengthwise or even just rip them into quarters and add straight into the bowl.

 

Carrot Fun Fact

Carrots are a good source of fibre to keep the bowels healthy and also a good source of vitamin A to help with eyesight.

 

Cucumber Fun Fact

Cucumber is a good source of fibre and also a good source of vitamin C. It’s also a source of potassium which is good of nerve cells and nerve cell function.

 

Bell Pepper Fun Fact

Bell peppers are a great vegetable. They come in many different colours and flavours. You can use red, yellow or even green ones. Bell pepper are good for fibre which are good for the bowels and another good source of vitamin C.  So a really nice antioxidant as well.

 

Step #4 – Add in an aroma for a pleasant salad smell

Next, use some peppermint, nice and fresh from the garden. I usually use a handful of peppermint leaves (you might also want to try tarragon, parsley, bay leaves, or other herbs to suit). Simply chop up or tear the peppermint leaves apart and that will help to release the aromas out of the peppermint.

 

Peppermint Fun Fact

Peppermint is good because it contains healthy bioflavonoids.

 

Step #5 – Use basic condiments only, such as salt, pepper and chilli

For your condiments you can use pepper, chilli flakes and either Himalayan rock salt or sea salt (eg. Celtic sea salt). It’s really up to you but they’re some healthy salt options.

 

Sea Salt Fun fact

These condiments will add in trace minerals such as copper, magnesium and manganese, and will also add a nice salty taste that’s more mellow compared to the old fashioned table salt (and healthier because of the additional trace minerals present with these salts).

 

Step #6 –  You’ll need an acidic tasting food such as lemon or vinegar

Here to add some “pep” to the flavour is the Lemon or acid component. Just chop up a lemon and cut it up into quarters. You don’t need to put in the whole thing, just pop the lemon onto the side of the salad bowl and add lemon to taste so it doesn’t wilt the leaves of the lettuce.

 

Lemon Fun Fact

Lemon is good for vitamin C, in the form of ascorbic acid – a really good antioxidant.

 

Optional Step #7 – Add in a protein option

If you want you can add in a protein option. Feel free to put in one (or more) of the following:

  • Beans, eg. red kidney beans,
  • Grilled chicken
  • Eggs such as boiled eggs
  • Stirfried sirloin tip beef
  • Chick peas, lentils

 

Summary

Salads are great! They are packed with vitamins, minerals, fibre and low energy density but high nutrient density. Enjoy!

 

To summarize the tips again, here are the top 6 tips to keep in mind

Step #1 – You’ll need some Lettuce (two or more types is good)

Step #2 – Pick a vegetable that’s a bright contrasting color (such as an orange, red or pink)

Step #3 – Time to change up the textures

Step #4 – Add in an aroma for a pleasant salad smell

Step #5 – Use basic condiments only such as salt, pepper and chilli

Step #6 –  You’ll need an acidic tasting food such as lemon or vinegar

Optional Step #7 – Add in a protein option

 

Feel free to watch the video!

Bibliography

  • Chek, P. (2009) How to Eat, Move and Be Healthy!
  • Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand (website): https://www.nrv.gov.au/ Accessed: December 2015 to January 2016
  • Braun, L., Marc, C. (2005) Herbs & Natural Supplements: An evidenced-based guide, Churchill Livingstone
  • Gropper, S., Smith, J., Groff, J. (2005) Advanced Nutrition and Human Metabolism (4th Ed.), Thomson Wadsworth
  • Williams, T., (2004) This=That: a life-sized photo guide to food serves

Chris Everingham lives and breathes health & fitness.

Chris Everingham lives and breathes health & fitness. International Athlete, Elite Performance Manager for the Philippine Volcanoes rugby teams, qualified Dietitian / Nutritionist and qualified educator. Chris Everingham combines more than 10 years of experience and education together to deliver the best strategies to grow your mindset, rewire your habits and transform your life.

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