There’s so much confusing information in the diet and food space these days. The internet is full of experts all claiming to have the solution to our diet and weight loss dilemma. The problem is that, depending on who you’re listening to, you will get totally opposite advice.
One expert proclaims that meat is unhealthy and you should only eat plants. Another in the Keto world will tell you to eat only meat and limit many vegetables and all fruits and grains because they have too many carbohydrates.
Some advise you to never eat dairy. Others say eat all the butter you want! One says eat no fat whatsoever because your body will store it and another will tell you to eat all the fat you want because it helps you stay full.
One expert will recommend intermittent fasting so your body has time to burn up calories before you put more in and another says that you need to eat small meals throughout the day because it increases your metabolism.
One will recommend a low-calorie diet and another says calories don’t really matter, it’s the type of food you consume.
So who’s right? I suppose they are all on some level and it depends on finding the right diet that works for you, because, after all, we’re all created differently.
Frankly, I’ve tried almost all of the above scenarios and have seen little change in my weight on any of them. Therefore, I’ve decided to go with what the Bible says about food which is that “All food is good for consumption as long as it’s taken with thankfulness.” (1 Timothy 4:4.) Oh, yes, I can be thankful!
Of course, we know we just can’t eat anything and everything we want. If I did that, I’d easily put on probably one hundred pounds or more! And the Bible does say a lot about gluttony. Proverbs instructs us to even “Put a knife to our throat if we are given to gluttony.” (Proverbs 23:2) Ouch!
There are, however, two things that I’ve discovered that every expert seems to agree on.
- Sugar is extremely bad for you.
- Leafy greens are extremely good for you.
So, in an effort to get fresh, leafy nutritious greens into our bodies every day, my husband and I usually have at least one big salad daily.
We actually love salads! We gave up on most processed foods years ago. We figured that if we can’t pronounce it, we probably shouldn’t be eating it. Salads are fresh, beautiful, nutritious and most of all filling and they also satisfy most of the health food gurus out there.
All salads are not created equal, however, and I’ve learned a couple of secrets that make them truly awesome.
1. Use fresh ingredients
It goes without saying that the food must be fresh to be great. There’s nothing more unappetizing than brown lettuce! We love to purchase the spring mix that’s already washed and ready to eat. It’s full of a variety of dark leaves that are the most nutritious. You can find it at most groceries and warehouse stores. Always check the date to get the freshest one and plan on going to the grocery every few days in order to always have the freshest lettuce and other vegetables on hand.
2. Limit ingredients
When it comes to salads, more is not necessarily better. About four or five different ingredients is more tastier than having so many different ingredients that the flavors all run together.
A few of My Favorite Salads
You may think you hate kale, but if you try this salad, I believe you will find it to be absolutely scrumptious. I actually recently got this recipe from my daughter and it’s become one of our favorites. We buy the bagged kale because it’s already broken up, so it’s easy to grab a few handfuls out of the bag and through it into a salad bowl.
Next, sprinkle it lavishly with salt and drizzle with olive oil. You don’t want it soggy but just enough oil to nicely cover it. Then, grate some fresh Parmesan cheese and mix it in. (For best results in all your salads, always grate your own cheese instead of using the pre-packaged grated cheese.) You can also mix in some crushed walnuts or almonds and/or craisins or raisins or perhaps some cherry tomatoes for a richer salad. Delicious and so healthy! Top with a piece of blackened salmon or grilled chicken for a hearty lunch or have as a side salad at dinner.
For this colorful salad I like either fresh spinach or a spring mix with a little of extra spinach added. Top it off with fresh strawberries (which are really delicious during the spring when they are in season,) feta cheese, walnuts, red onion, and possibly even a little bacon. It goes really well with raspberry vinaigrette dressing. You’ll love it!!
This is a very hearty salad. I like to take the spring mix and also add a little kale to it. You can also mix in iceberg lettuce Top it off with boiled eggs, tomato, red onion, and bacon. It’s delicious with blue cheese dressing. Make it on a big plate and you’ve got a wonderful, low carb lunch.
Speaking of iceberg lettuce. Take a head and cut it into fourths. Top each forth with diced cooked bacon, red onion and diced tomatoes and blue cheese. Add ranch or blue cheese dressing and you have a fabulous wedge salad as good as in any restaurant.
Your own personal tossed creation
Have some vegetable in your refrigerator about to go bad? Toss it into a salad and get creative. You can use your imagination and always create your own using what you have on hand in the fridge. Just stick to no more than five ingredients for the best results. This is a great way to use your creativity by trying different combinations while making sure you don’t let any of your fresh vegetables go to waste.
Below is one I made for lunch because we had some cucumber that needed to be eaten. I topped it with blackened salmon for a $20 restaurant style salad that cost much less.
I love to make tossed salads because you can come up with so many combinations and by sticking with just a few ingredients, you can have a different salad each day for days on end.
You can top lettuce with taco seasoned beef, avocado, black beans, corn, and onion for a tremendous taco salad. Yum!
Make an Asian salad with snow peas, pear, cilantro, and ginger. Mandrian oranges are also great on this type of salad. You can do a seafood salad by adding shrimp to your Asian style or other salad.
Try a Mediterranean salad with olives, tomato, red onion, and fresh mozzarella balls.
The possibilities are endless and if you can’t think of something in the moment you can always turn to the internet for an abundance of recipes.
Dressings – the final touch
Dressings help make the salad delicious, but too much dressing ruins the taste of the vegetables and can also add a lot of unnecessary calories. When eating out, I typically ask for the dressing on the side so they don’t overwhelm the salad with it. You can make your own dressing, if you wish. We have a tahini dressing recipe that I love, but we usually end up buying our dressings because it’s easier. Blue Cheese is great if you’re trying to keep your carbs low, and we especially love the specially selected house dressings from Aldi. They’re reasonably priced, come in a variety of flavors and some of the most delicious I’ve ever tasted.
I’m sure you have some great salad recipes that your family loves. If you have any that you’d like to share, let me know in the comments below. I’d love to try them!