healthy_eatingWhen it comes to a healthy lunch or light dinner, you can’t beat a great salad.
But there’s salad – and then there’s SALAD.
The difference between the two is knowing the key ingredients that will elevate your salad from a bowl of limp lettuce to an enticing meal that you cannot wait to tuck into.
By following our 5 tips below you will be taking your salads to another level, and eating your way to a healthier, fitter, leaner you.

Step 1 – nail the basics

First things first, you aren’t going to impress yourself or anyone else by starting with a limp old iceberg lettuce.
Get some fresh baby spinach or rocket (better still, grow your own!) as the base for your salad.
Then it’s up to you to add some other veggies – go for lots of colour.
We love starting with cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced carrot and cucumber.

Step 2 – toss in some protein

Choose your protein by looking for a lean cut of meat such as chicken, lamb or beef; some tuna or salmon; some tofu; some chickpeas or lentils; or even some cottage cheese.
It doesn’t have to be plain old meat or fish either, why not think about using up leftover roast lamb, slice up the spare steak from last night, use some marinated tuna steaks or simply a tin of flavoured tuna.

Step 3 – add some flair

This is where the salad comes to life. Think about the great salads you like to order in a café. What do they have in them? What’s stopping you from re-creating that at home?

  • Roasted pumpkin – cut raw pumpkin into chunks, drizzle in olive or coconut oil, season, add some rosemary and cook at 180C for an hour or until golden. Turn mid-way through.
  • Avocado – you can’t beat a ripe avo in your salad for that hit of creaminess.
  • Fresh herbs – these can really lift a salad. Fresh basil is heavenly, or some fresh mint or parsley leaves can work too. Chopped chives or shallots add an onion-like taste (without the onion-like breath).
  • Fruit – yes you can! Think thin pieces of crispy apple or pear, fresh juicy peaches or plums, sultanas, or even orange segments work well too.
  • Halloumi – this firm cheese is so easy to use. Just serve it grilled to golden perfection by using a spritz of olive oil on a hot pan. Almost meaty in texture, it tastes great when paired with some nuts, some beetroot or roast pumpkin in a salad.
  • Pine nuts – simply toast until golden in a dry pan
  • Dried fruit – slice up some dried apricots, dates or figs to add as a garnish.
  • Cous cous or wholemeal pasta – if you have some leftover from last night’s dinner toss it in too as it will help to fill you up.
  • Marinated feta – buy this from good delis.
  • Sundried tomatoes – simply toss in from the jar
  • Chickpeas – simply drain and add, these are a great pantry cupboard staple and work well with tuna or lamb.
  • Roasted beetroot – wrap whole of halved beetroots in foil and roast for around 90 mins in a 180C oven. Peel when cooled and cut into chunks. Matches well with salty feta and mint.
Step 4 – now add some crunch

Texture is an important part of a good salad. You want contrast, as well as things that complement each other. Try some of our faves including:

  • Corn on the cob – boil on the stove then carve off the kernels.
  • Cashews – crushed or whole, these add some ‘pop’
  • Lightly steamed greens – think snow peas/green beans/asparagus. It’s nice to have a contrast in temperature in a salad too
  • Crushed pistachios are a great one for sprinkling on top
  • Pumpkin seeds – just roast these yourself when you are baking pumpkin
  • Steamed edamame
  • Sunflower seeds – buy from health food shops
  • Home made croutons
Step 5 – get it dressed 

Please please please promise not to undo all your hard work by slathering your heavenly salad with a store bought creamy dressing or one that says it’s ‘healthy’ but is actually choc-a-block with sugar and salt.
The simplest dressing we love at Lose Baby Weight HQ is 1 tbsp olive oil + 1 tbsp lemon juice + salt and pepper. You can get more salad dressing inspiration here.
Now go forth and be the maker of incredible salads!
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