Wednesday, 19 May 2010

A taste of summer

Finally a sunny day in the city! It was nice to see everyone topping up their vitamin d levels at lunchtime - they must have read my blog ;-)

I enjoyed my ten minutes of sunshine with a lemonade from Leon (sweetened with fructose rather than sugar) where I also picked up one of their super healthy and tasty chicken superfood salads.

I'm always more inclined to eat salad and raw foods in the summer and they make such quick and healthy meals that if you enjoy them, especially now it's warmed up, you should have them as often as you can.

Good salads are easily available in the city if you don't have time to make one for lunch, I like M+S tuna and bean, any of the Leon salads, EAT superfood and pret Italian chefs salad or health and hummous. I also always keep a baby leaf salad in the fridge to have with my dinner.

However if you've time to make a salad for lunch or dinner you can put together a delicious salad in minutes based on these healthy components. Be creative and chop and change ingredients to keep it interesting:

Start with a base of green leaves - spinach, rocket and watercress are all much more nutritious than iceberg lettuce so try and include some dark green leaves.

Add extra vegetables - at least two different types aim for a range of colours. My favourites are raw peppers, tomatoes, cucumber, beetroot and carrot or cooked courgettes, peas or aubergine.

Add some lean protein - such as boiled egg, salmon (smoked or cooked), smoked or tinned mackerel or any oily fish, chicken or turkey (preferably organic), cooked prawns or tofu (I like to marinade with green curry paste and coconut cream to add flavour).

Add a tablespoon of healthy fats - found in seeds, chopped nuts (I like pecans or walnuts), olive oil or half an avocado.

Add some low GI carbohydrates - such as pulses, new potatoes, wholegrain (or gluten free) pasta, brown rice, cubed cooked sweet potato, quinoa.

Optional extras:
Add a tablespoon of fresh herbs - dill, parsley. coriander, basil or any you like.

Add a taste booster - something to liven up your salad - limit to one of the following:
A tablespoon of dried fruit eg. sultanas or chopped apricots
Half an apple or pear diced
1 tbsp chopped sun dried tomatoes
1 tbsp pitted olives
1 tbsp of pesto or sacla stir in pasta sauce if you're having pasta in your salad
1 tbsp healthy dressing - either homemade french (olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice and mustard) or Newman's own vinaigrette.

Mix it all together and serve immediately or refrigerate in a container to take to work for lunch. Enjoy!

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