Can you believe this, I’m actually writing a blog post about slimming down. Yes, me, the cook all, eat all girl who has been enticing you with all kinds of succulent food pictures over the past year and now I’m telling you it’s time to get slimmer!!!
If you’re like me your waistline is feeling a little fluffy as you head into January. I can’t imagine there being any food I could possibly crave because I ate something from every continent in the world from December 1st until last Sunday. I talked to many people and all were in the same camp, you can’t start working on a new habit in the middle of the week so we all agreed Monday was the day the indulging was coming to an end.
Monday, I opened up my FitnessPal app, updated my weight and started logging in everything I ate. For me, FitnessPal keeps me on track…it’s easy to use and it’s right on my phone. I’m not on some big weight loss program because I only want to lose 10 pounds but it’s not going to happen if I don’t keep track of what I put in my mouth within the amount of calories I’ve committed to consuming.
Over the weekend I stocked my refrigerator with a variety of salad greens, a rotisserie chicken, goat cheese, walnuts, a pomegranate…..everything I need to throw together a satisfying salad.
With my Top Ten Salads I’ll be on my way to a slimmer me in 30 days. These will be my go to salads in an effort to trim off those extra pounds I acquired during the holidays and a few more in preparation for Playa Del Carmen.
10. Greek Salad – This is made with romaine lettuce, grilled chicken breast, sliced cucumber, red onion, sliced green pepper, tomato wedges, crumbled feta cheese and a few kalamata olives. Toss with a light drizzling of olive oil, red wine vinegar, oregano, salt and a good grinding of pepper. Opa!
9. Caprese Salad – I could eat this everyday. Simply place a generous layer of tender butter lettuce greens on a plate and top with sliced tomatoes cut slightly thick and a few slices of fresh mozzarella. Then take some fresh basil leaves and generously tuck them around the tomatoes and mozzarella. Drizzle with a balsamic glaze and olive oil. You can purchase the balsamic glaze in the vinegar section of the grocery store or if you’re more ambitious than me you can make your own balsamic reduction. In this case, there’s no point in reinventing what’s already made for you.
8. Subway Chop Salad – I call this one Subway Chop Salad because when I’m on the road it’s one of my go-to fast food restaurants where I can get a salad just like this. Start of with a blend of shredded iceberg lettuce and baby spinach leaves. Then throw on some chopped ham, sliced banana peppers out of the jar, red onion, black olives , splash on some red wine vinegar and olive oil and there you have it.
7. Strawberry Spinach Salad – Start with a bed of baby spinach leaves, top with sliced strawberries, sliced chicken breast, red onion, pecan pieces and feta cheese crumbles. Drizzle with a raspberry vinaigrette dressing. Super simple, looks beautiful on the plate and light and satisfying in the tummy.
6. Asian Mandarin Orange Salad – We’re going to switch up the greens on this one and use shredded Napa cabbage, grilled chicken breast, sliced green onions, cilantro leaves, sliced almonds and a peeled and separated Clementine or Cutie orange. Shake-up a little canola oil with a splash or two of rice vinegar, a squirt of honey and dash of soy sauce, then toss it up with the cabbage, veggies and orange wedges, top with the chicken breast and sliced almonds and you have a light and refreshing lunch or dinner.
5. Niçoise Salad – I love this salad so much it hurts. It hails from the seaside city of Nice, France. Putting this salad together is like creating a color palate on your plate and the final result is a masterpiece. Start by laying down a bed of red and green leaf lettuce, then you’re going to section off the remainder of the ingredients; grilled tuna or drained-canned tuna, a boiled red potato, a hard-boiled egg, sliced red onion, thin green beans cooked until tender but crisp, cherry tomatoes and kalamata olives. When I make this one in the summer I like to give it a generous sprinkle of fresh tarragon from my patio pot. Drizzle a vinaigrette of olive oil, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, a little honey, salt and freshly ground pepper. Voilà!
4. Caesar Salad – People think it’s tradition to serve Caesar salad with anchovies but the original recipe did not contain pieces of anchovy, the slight anchovy flavor comes from the Worcestershire sauce in the dressing. For a classic Caesar use romaine lettuce, a grilled chicken breast, coarse grated parmesan cheese and freshly grated pepper. Drizzle with a Caesar dressing, sometimes I make my own but I also like the flavor of the store-bought Cardini brand. I buy the full fat one, less sugar and bigger flavor.
3. Classic Cobb Salad – This salad makes for a satisfying dinner entrée. It’s also a great way to use up whatever greens you have on hand so feel free to use mixed greens in this one. I like to create it in layers so top your lettuce with leftover sliced chicken or beef, a sliced hard-boiled egg, 3 strips of bacon-fried crisp and crumbled, halved grape tomatoes, diced avocado and blue cheese crumbles. A Cobb Salad tastes great with either a creamy ranch or blue cheese dressing. These creamy dressings aren’t exactly low-calorie so be mindful of how much you’re pouring on.
2. Crab Louie Salad – This is known as the King of Salads and actually originated in San Francisco. You can use real crab if you have time to work with crab legs, otherwise you can pick up a can of lump crab, substitute cooked shrimp for the crab or use imitation crab meat. I’m not a fan of imitation crab but if you can stomach it, be my guest. Build a Crab Louie on top of iceberg lettuce leaves followed by tomato wedges, a sliced hard-boiled egg, a few cucumber slices, a lemon wedge and then that amazing special Crab Louie dressing. The dressing is easy; start with about a 1/4 cup mayo and stir in about a tablespoon of chili sauce or ketchup, a squeeze of lemon juice, a dash of Worcestershire sauce and salt and pepper. I love horseradish so I add a dab of that too to turn this dressing into a lively soirée on top of my salad. Nummy!
1. Pomegranate Goat Cheese Salad – I’m seriously addicted to POM anything…it just tastes so darn healthy. I like to use a mix of arugula, red and green leaf lettuce for this zesty salad. I like this one for lunch because of the bright flavor it offers. I top the greens with a few thin slices of red onion, walnut pieces and about a one ounce slice of goat cheese and then a good handful of pomegranate berries. And if I have it available, sliced chicken breast is a lovely addition to this salad as well. If you’re not a pomegranate fan or don’t have the patience to pluck the berries out of the skin, a slice navel orange would make a good substitution. I toss the greens in a raspberry vinaigrette before layering the remainder of the ingredients on the salad.Am I making you hungry? Eating a salad doesn’t have to be punishment, you just need to do a little preparation and planning and whip up a couple of vinaigrette’s to make your meal an appealing healthy mix.
If you load up your salad with veggies, include a 4-6 ounce serving of protein, you’ll ward off hunger pangs and find yourself feeling satisfied for a couple of hours before it’s time to snack on an apple.
Whether you’ve made weight loss a New Year’s resolution or you’re like me and just want to shed those few extra pounds the naughty elf shoved down your throat over the holidays, hopefully these top ten salad ideas will inspire you in the kitchen to be creative and inspire your mind to be deliberate in making healthy food choices.
Ten pounds in 30 days, I’m committed. Are you? I’d love to hear what ideas you have on how you’re slimming down in 2015. Feel free to leave a comment and let’s help each other reach our slim down goal.
Have a great week!