No Boring Salads!!!

If your salads are becoming boring, you need to re-think the basics and spruce up those greens. Check out these fanciful salads that boost your enthusiasm for eating these healthy sides and enjoy the crunch of some good greens for the picnic months ahead.

Robust Salads Are Built On Protein

We all know how much I stress protein at all meals. Add a powerful punch to your salad is to include some protein, namely in the form of seafood, meats, beans, or hard boiled eggs.

Here are some ideas cooked shrimp, canned salmon or white albacore tuna on top of your bed of greens. Perhaps your salad would benefit from black or kidney beans for a Mexican twist. Juicy grilled chicken, thinly sliced into strips, could add a smoky barbecue flavor to a simple salad. If you choose different marinades, you’ll get different flavor influences. Think of marinading beef in Teriyaki before grilling.  Then those delicate, thin strips will blend well with ingredients borrowed from Asian cuisine.

Sweet Salads Are Meant To Surprise

A classic salad that always surprises is the Waldorf salad, made with a variety of fruits, including apples, cherries, dates, grapes, or even fresh pineapple. You’ll substitute the mayo with greek yogurt and some lemon juice.  I like to add in shredded coconut, YUM!!! Ambrosia salad is an explosion of fanciful delights, including bright colors and the sweet flavors of  mandarin oranges, blackberries, strawberries, grapes and coconut, but the name says it all, so don’t limit your choices.

Then there are big fruit salad bowls filled with everything from watermelon to berries, bananas, and grapes, apples, kiwi, mango, pineapple, cantaloupe and a host of other fruits in between.  Add crunch with nuts like walnuts, pecans, pistachios, or almonds.

Using a light vinaigrette dressing may sound odd with all that fruit, but the touch of savory brings out the sweet juices and makes the salad taste all the better. You can also toss the fruit salad with a mixture non-fat yogurt or cottage cheese to give your salad a little protein boost. The options are as varied as your taste buds.

Gourmet Salads Call For Clever Ingredients

For a truly unique salad creation, you have to go deeper into the range of greens you use in your salads. Look at food in a whole new way and choose combinations of flavors and textures that will light up the eyes of guests as they taste your best efforts.

Try mixing eclectic greens like endive, arugula, and watercress with avocado, crab meat, Greek olives, and grapefruit, along with hard-boiled eggs for a fresh take on a classic salad. Sprinkle a touch of nutmeg and cinnamon with golden raisins and chopped tart apples, and toss with shredded cooked chicken or turkey, and a touch of balsamic vinaigrette for a delightful new salad. Go tropical with mango, papaya, figs, or summer melons, adding the right compliment of spice like ginger, curry, or fresh mint. Top with toasted coconut for a truly fanciful salad.

Seeds and Sprouts Add the Finishing Touch

No matter what you put in your salads, you’ll always want to have an eye-catching topping that completes a gourmet creation you can be proud of. The best choices are often seeds and sprouts, since they add texture and depth to all types of salads for all types of meals. Seeds add color and dimension, almost a solid, formidable look, while sprouts are often heaped on in a big fluffy pile, providing a playful and unruly look to the salad.

For seeds, you could choose sunflower, pumpkin, sesame, milk thistle, or alfalfa seeds, just to name a few. With sprouts, you have mung bean sprouts, broccoli sprouts, and alfalfa sprouts. Then there are the lesser known choices like radish sprouts and clover sprouts. These types of ingredients go very well with most salads but especially with dishes that are made with quinoa, tofu, tempeh, and jicama.

With a little imagination, and time to seek out unique ingredients, you can walk away from conventional thinking and create wonderful, fanciful salads to enjoy.

Do you have a favorite salad you want to share, please leave me some comments below.


4 Ways To Lose Your Belly

Admit we all look down at our tummy’s and wish they are a little flatter, more

Source: Michelle Meiklejohn

define or hell just wasn’t a muffin top! Here a four ways to lose that muffin top.

  1. Add protein to every meal. I always ask my clients to write their food journals and the one element that is missing from most meals is protein. This is help you repair your muscles after working out and helps you to feel full longer.
  2. Log your meals. This helps you really visualize what your are putting in your mouth. I mean you log EVERYTHING the Peppermint Patty  you grabbed from the receptionist desk. Want me to review? Just send 3 days and I’ll give you feedback.
  3. Avoid artificial sweeteners.Because they are “artificial” it’s sometimes hard for our bodies to process them. When your body can’t process it causes inflammation. Unfortunately you typically can’t control where the inflammation occurs, most times it will occur in your tummy. So its best to avoid foods high in sodium, carbonated beverages, and gum.
  4. Fill up on veggies.  Veggies are low in calories and high in fiber. This combination helps you feel full longer. Be careful with broccoli it does cause a little bloating.

Here is a bonus — interval training — instead of just hoping on a piece of equipment and doing the same pace, try mixing it up with intervals.  Try this one.  Go hard for 30 sec and then rest for 30 sec try this for 30 minutes. After you try it leave me a comment about how you did.

Image: Michelle Meiklejohn /


No Fail Resoution Tips

The first week of the new year is almost over. How are you doing with your resolutions? Are you still making them? If your resolution this year is to lose those last 10 pounds or to get into or back into shape I have a few tips that may help you get there this year.

  1. You need a strategy — just hoping and praying isn’t a strategy. Think of your fitness plan as planning a trip. Would you just hop in the car and hope you end up a destination. No.. you would punch it into your GPS and follow the route. Getting back into shape and losing weight is the same thing! Your action for right now is to say — I am going to ________. I’m looking for an exact number, if its not exact you can’t measure how you are doing.  For example, by February 17 I will lose 10 pounds or I will run/walk 1 mile each day for the next 30 days.  So.. what’s your action item to get you toward your end goal?
  2. Yes, write it down — you have you strategy, it’s not good enough to have it in your head, you need to write it down and put it someplace where you can see it each and every day! I recommend you tape it in multiple locations — your bathroom mirror, your nightstand, your refrigerator, your car’s sun visor, your cube at work. The more you see it the more you will be reminded of your goal and your actions will start to reflect where you want to go. Your action item — write your goal for the next 30 days and put it in multiple locations.
  3. Don’t go hungry — when people start to diet the first thing I hear is I’m going to skip meals. Nothing makes me more crazy than when I hear that. Okay the other thing that makes me crazier is when I see people walking/running on a treadmill and holding on for dear life. Unless you came in using a walker or a cane there is no need to hold on. Pump your arms and use your core! Off my soap box, now back to meals. You must fuel your body every 2-3 hours.  You must keep blood sugar levels even, this is what signals the brain for food. The more even your blood sugars levels the less likely you are to go on a bender. Think about this.  How many times have you skipped lunch and then headed home after work and just ate everything sight or you planned on eating the right things and your hungry mind took over.  I know that never happens to you guys. =) If you are reading this and its been a few hours –EAT SOMETHING! Your action item — what snacks can you put in your desk drawer or in the car that you can eat?
  4. Get support — You can’t do this alone! There will be times when you need a shoulder to lean on, a kick in the pants or just an ear when you need to vent. Ask someone to be your accountability partner. When you have this person you are less likely to fall off the wagon. I highly recommend you find that friend, co-worker or whomever that isn’t afraid to be hard on you.  Your action item — find and ask someone to be your support person?
  5. Share your goals with the world — The more people who know what you are doing you are more likely to do it. No one wants to look like a fool. In this new world of social media — post your goal(s) on your Facebook wall, tweet about them on Twitter.  You’d be surprised how much support and encouragement you’ll get from others who maybe trying to reach the same goal or this is where you may find your accountability partner. Your action item –post your 30 day goal on your Facebook wall, tweet about or tell someone in person.  You can even leave your comments on my blog! I have no problem being that kick in the rump!
  6. Pick one thing to change — Many of you feel you need to change EVERYTHING right away. I’m all for that BUT… if you aren’t that kind of person. Don’t do it!  I recommend you pick 1 habit this week and work on changing that. If you are addicted to diet soda — work on reducing the number that you have in a day or go cold turkey.  Action item — What is the one thing you will change this week?

With these 6 tips in hand do you feel like you have a nice blueprint to help you forward towards reaching your fitness goals this year? If you would some formalized help. I still have a few spots open for my F.R.E.E 30 day wellness coaching program. Just shoot me an email to learn more.  I really want to know how you are doing. Leave me your fitness goal in the comments below.