Salads are a great option for lunch or dinner, but they get a bad rap because we think salads are either boring or don't satisfy. The good news is that they don't have to be boring at all, as long as you know what ingredients to include! They're also a great way of getting a decent serve of veggies.
If you've tried eating salads for lunch before but find you're hungry again by mid afternoon, this is usually because you haven't added any carbs. Forgetting the carbs means we're not getting the energy our body needs, and that will leave you reaching for the treats come 3 o'clock!
Below are the building blocks for creating a tasty and satisfying salad. Choose 1 option from each category at the full quantity, or mix several together but remember to reduce the amount. The suggested quantities will produce 1 serving.
Any lean cut of meat* (100-150g)
Eggs (2 whole eggs)
Tofu or other meat substitute* (100-150g)
* Pay attention to the cooking method. If it is deep fried or cooked in a lot of oil, it becomes unhealthy.
** Be careful with the type of cheese you're using. If using a hard cheese, stick to 30g (size of a small matchbox) as these are highest in saturated fat. If you're using cottage cheese or ricotta cheese you can afford a larger portion, up to 100g if you're not also adding meat.
Roasted potato or sweet potato (100-150g)
Beans (black, red, four bean mix, etc.) (100-150g)
Cous Cous (100-150g)
Rice - (100-150g)
*** You can buy tins of ready to eat brown lentils. They're really cheap, at $0.75 - $1.50 for a large tin. 100-150g is approximately 3-4 tablespoons. Cover the tin and put the rest in the fridge for the next salad. You will have enough for 3-4 salads from each 400g tin.
The above list includes some of my favourites, but you can include any veggies you like (excluding pumpkin, potato or sweet potato, as these are carbohydrates).
Avocados are a really fabulous addition to a salad as they are full of good fats. Good fats are full of nutrients, and also help to fill us up! Whilst avocados are very good for you, they are high in calories and therefore you still need to be mindful of portion size. Limit to one quarter of a standard size avocado.
You can't have a tasty salad without a good dressing! I like to make my own so that I know exactly what's going into it. I like to use a tablespoon of good quality olive oil and a tablespoon of my favourite vinegar. You can leave it at that or you can also add a teaspoon of mustard and a squeeze of lemon juice. I put all the ingredients into a screw top jar and then give it a good shake before pouring over the salad.