Salad Weather

Happy Friday!! This week has been seriously NUTS for me. Seriously. I am really looking forward to enjoying an adult beverage later.

I had this whole post ready about loving this warm weather, then it goes ans SNOWS. Hi, it’s April 6th people. Not OK. So if it’s not sunny spring weather where you are, take a look at this pic and pretend it is before we get on with the rest of the post ūüôā

I grew up in California near Santa Barbara (that pic was taken out one of my parent’s windows) then slowly made my way south to Orange County when I went to college (in Long Beach) and then got my first job. There are essentially three types of weather: pleasant, rainy, and hot. And even at that they tend not to be extreme (except for the hot, once it was something like 108, I wanted to cry but my tears would have just evaporated anyways). So moving to Utah, a place that truly has all four seasons, has been really exciting (don’t get me wrong CA is great, but this is just so new to me).

One thing I noticed in my first year here is how my tastes change throughout the year. Once the temps start to rise, I suddenly abandon my love affair with soups and other comfort foods and start craving yummy fruits and veggies. Especially salads.

In the past week I think I’ve had more salads than I have this whole year. It’s awesome. But whether you are at a restaurant, the salad bar, or making one at home, salads can become fairly high in calories fairly quickly. Here are things I keep in mind to make my salads amazing and healthy.

  • The greens: I am a huge hearts of romaine lover, not a real mixed greens gal, but I always try to throw some other greens in with my romaine to vary the nutrient content.
  • The veggies: The more colorful the better! Different colors mean different nutrients so the more the merrier.
  • Add quality protein: This is really only necessary if you are planning the salad as a meal, not a side. I usually add in a lean protein like hard-boiled egg whites,quinoa,¬†tuna,¬†beans, or grilled chicken, steak, or fish. I ALWAYS grill extra meat when I can to have some on hand for quick salad assembly.
  • Choose one¬†“rich”¬†item: I wasn’t really sure how to best describe this, but this is what¬†I do. If I am going to put in cheese, I don’t use a creamy dressing (I usually never have them really) or add in pine nuts or something like that. If I want a creamy dressing, then no cheese or nuts. If I throw in avocado… well I think you get the picture. Get the idea? Sometimes I will use cheese and avocado, but only if I am using the cheese as my source of protein.
  • Use a smart¬†salad dressing: Salad dressing seems to be the place where most people go wrong. Don’t worry, for years I¬†wouldn’t touch a veggie¬†unless I couldn’t see¬†that it was a veggie due to the amount of ranch dressing. Like I said, if you do use a¬†creamy dressing, don’t add cheese, avocado, or whatnot, and¬†be sure to measure it! I think everyone tends to¬†over do it when they just pour¬†it on top.¬†I love the Bolthouse¬†Farms¬†creamy dressings because they are made with yogurt and contain¬†less than 50 calories per¬†tablespoon.¬†Otherwise use vinegar-based dressings or just drizzle on a little balsamic (this is super yummy if you have cheese on the salad, it kind of makes its own¬†dressing), its delsh. My biggest tip for enjoying your salad with less dressing¬†is to make sure that you¬†toss it super well.¬†This helps¬†it coat all the veggies and you¬†won’t even realize¬†you’ve used less. ¬†

Writing all this made me super hungry for a salad, even id it is still snowing out…

What’s your favorite way to enjoy a salad?