If your usual salad consists of tearing up some lettuce leaves with sliced cucumber and chunks of tomato, it’s no wonder you feel deflated! Salads don’t need to be an afterthought of the summer barbecue! With just a few extra ingredients, you can transform them into an inexpensive, filling and delicious main meal/lunch, packed full of nutrients that will trump any convenience food.
To start with, you need a good base of greens – the darker and more varied the better, and bonus points for experimenting with herbs. Rocket and spinach are great choices; try adding torn basil leaves and/or coriander, too. Mix these with three or four veggies, and get experimental – even with varieties you’d otherwise consider bland. For example, grating carrot and courgette completely changes their texture and taste for even the fussiest of eaters!
For many people, reaching for a sandwich at lunch time is automatic, but high carb diets are unsatisfying and can promote weight gain in the long-run. Instead, team a salad with protein to help you feel fuller for longer. Chicken, fish, pulled pork and other meats can be a good choice, along with legumes, tofu and other veggie options.
Next, healthy fats in the form of nuts, seeds, olives, avocados, and oils are a must for a satisfying and nutritious meal. You can even get your fats in via a yummy dressing like tahini, or by using plain yoghurt as a base!
Finally, health-supporting toppings like grains and fruits should be used sparingly to add flavour and texture whilst keeping the carb and sugar count low.
Take the graphic below on your next shopping trip for some inspiration, as a reminder of what to look out for!