Not another Salad!!

What to do when salads make your eyes roll.

It seems the idea out there is if you want to eat heart healthy, and perhaps are looking to manage your weight, that salads are going to be what you are chewing on from now on. You’ve got your leafy salads, Greek veggie salads, pasta salads, and the oh so good buddha bowls. There are a TON varieties and while yes, they contain so many great healthy ingredients and are a fantastic option (as long as you don’t slather them in rich creamy dressings).. they can get really hard to stomach after a while. So, what’s left??

In this quick article my aim is to provide you a few alternatives to rotate into your weekly lunch menu.. making it a little easier to actually want that salad sometimes too.

The goal is to create a plate that includes fiber & some good fats, is low in salt & bad fats, and for those looking to manage their weight.. is relatively light on the calories.

    1. Wraps/tacos: There are plenty of varieties here you can choose from. You can use whole grain tortillas, pita bread, or even big lettuce leaves as your shell. For the insides load in the veggies, and for those who want a little meat as well.. look to use chicken, salmon, tuna (or any other fish). You can have them grilled or eat them cold. Play with the spices to change up the flavor. Try using hummus in your wrap.. yumm!
      1. Chicken curry lettuce wrap: OPTION – Use whole wheat pita instead of lettuce and have as a sandwich instead of a lettuce wrap.
        • 1 cup (250 mL) diced cooked chicken breast
        • 1/4 stalk celery diced
        • 1/4 cup (50 mL) apple, skin on, diced
        • Small handful cilantro, finely chopped (if you want)
        • 1/4 cup (50 mL) low-fat plain yogurt
        • 1 tsp (5 mL) curry powder
        • Juice of one lemon
        • 4 big leaves red or Boston lettuce (Be sure the lettuce you choose as your wrap is sturdy enough to hold in the chicken). If you have as a pita, put some of that lettuce or spinach leaves inside your wrap.
    2. Soup: Another great way to add in those amazing veggies and the flavor options are endless! Look to add in beans & lentils for that amazing fiber boost. The key is to watch the additional salt during the cooking process. Use spices instead. I would highly recommend staying away from canned. The best part of this is you can make up a big batch of soup and store it away in the freezer in smaller portions. Then if you are in the need for a change up.. all you have to do is heat it up and enjoy.
        • Hearty Veggie Soup
          • 1Tbsp – olive oil
          • 3 cloves minced garlic
          • 1 onion, diced
          • 6 large carrots, diced
          • 6 celery stalks, diced
          • ¼ tsp ground ginger – or use Fresh grated ginger (amazing!)
          • 1 tsp ground turmeric
          • ¼ tsp ground pepper
          • 6 – 8 cups low sodium chicken or veggie broth
          • 2 – 3 cups chopped kale or spinach
          • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
          • Parsley for garnish
          • Optional: 3 cups cooked diced or shredded chicken

Sauté the garlic with the olive oil. Add in the onions, carrots, celery & ginger. Cook until soft. Add in turmeric & pepper and stir, then add in broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 20 – 30 mins. Add in kale/spinach and if you want.. chicken. Simmer for about 5 mins. Add in your lemon and taste to adjust spices to your liking. Enjoy!

    1. Smoothies: While these are my favorite for breakfast on the go.. smoothies are a great lunch on the go option as well. Packed full of goodness, with the flavor of any fruit, veg, or spice you decide to use. There are the traditional smoothies using fruit to add sweetness.. but there are also some terrific veggie smoothies too that take your taste buds on an unexpected ride. The trick with smoothies is they can quickly become a run-away train. It’s very easy to drink more than you would normally eat.. so watch the portion control here.. and keep it light on the fruit or added sweetner to avoid the mass sugar injection.
        • Blueberry Banana – my go to.
          • Big handful of spinach
          • Sprinkle of ground flax
          • Sprinkle of hemp hearts
          • ¼ cup plain Greek 0% Yogurt
          • 1 small banana – ½ large
          • ½ cup of frozen blueberries
          • Enough Unsweetened Almond milk to provide desired consistency.
    2. Snack it!! Sometimes you just need some variety.. so pull together some great snack options and call it a meal.
        • Fresh veggies & hummus
        • Roasted chick peas
        • Oven baked Sweet Potato fries
        • Dehydrated unsweetened Fruit – Figs, apple chips
        • Multigrain crackers/chips with Guacamole, salsa, or bean dip
          1. Chip options:
            1. Food Should Taste Good (multigrain) – Costco
            2. Salt of the Earth Bean Crisps – Costco
            3. Garden of Eatin’ – blue tortilla chips, or sweet potato chips.

Salads really are amazing.. look to change them up from leafy salads to buddha bowls using quinoa or couscous. Change up the flavors and get creative with what you use for veggies. Try roasting vs raw.. use beets to add a little earthy sweetness. Play with dressings using apple cider vinegar and nutritional yeast for something different. But yes.. I hear you… salads can make you want to run for the hills sometimes… so it is nice to have some other options as a break.

Happy eating!! Your heart will thank you!


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Shawna Cook

Shawna is a Certified Clinical Exercise Physiologist through the American College of Sports Medicine, who has been working in Cardiac Rehabilitation for over 10 years. Her years in the health and fitness field however have spanned over the past 2+ decades. As an elite level athlete she fell in love with understanding the human body, and how the choices she made, affected how it performed. This led to a degree from the University of Winnipeg in the stream of Athletic Therapy, and the passion towards helping others recover from injury and "be their best selves" grew.