New Year, New Salads

Did anyone make new year resolutions with a ton of dietary restrictions after saturating their bodies with salts, sugars and fats for the past 2 weeks?  Which means,  you are already coming up with excuses to delay your new diet of greens. And then you look through Pinterest for inspiration and came up with something like this?

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Pinterest: Salad

These salads are very pretty and healthy but the task ahead now feels daunting because the ingredients are a bit unrelated.  I want to break all that down so that you can be on your way to making satiating, nutritious, pin worthy salads using local ingredients and just a little a spark of creativity.

1. Base

Lettuce, cabbage, kale and spinach are the usual suspects and are a great source of fiber, vitamins (A, B, C, K) and minerals (Potassium, Manganese, Copper). However by adding starches such as diced breadfruit (43% dietary fiber) and green bananas (14% fiber,  43% resistant starch which acts as fiber) you can be satisfied without worrying about a wider waist line.

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Breadfruit, Purple Cabbage and other leafies

2. Build it up!

Depending on what you have chosen as your base, you can stop right there. But if there is more room for calories and fibers, then add some pops of colour with tomatoes, carrots, avocado, pumpkin (cooked), corn and cucumbers. Cube, slice or spiralise them to keep the appeal and quickly move onto the next step.

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Salad served as a side portion

3. Protein

It’s really important to have a source of protein in your salad if it serves as your only dish. If you are a vegan or vegetarian, tofu cubes, legumes and bean sprouts are easy addition. If you don’t fall into that bracket, bbq strips of meat, grilled fish cubes, boiled egg and even some leftover Christmas ham will work just fine.

4. Condiments

Condiments determine the highs and lows of your salad. They add texture, depth and visual pull just when you tell yourself that you’re tired of eating rabbit food, because those moments do happen. Try fruits like mandarin pegs, wax apple slivers and pomegranate seeds, nuts and seeds like cashews and sea almonds and homemade croutons for crunch and flavour. Can I share something else with you: fried plantain chips are soooo good in salads and they are very simple to cook. Just remember not to overindulge even though plantain is BAE.

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Green Salad topped with pomegranate seeds and slivers of coconut jelly

5. Dressing

Supermarket shelves are filled with a variety of options from the creamy goodness of Ranch to the Italian accents of a balsamic vinaigrette. But nothing beats a personal twist on Caribbean flavour. Look at this array from SJC St. George’s JA Company: Well dressed

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Photo compliments SJC St. George’s ‘Well Dressed’

They offer passion fruit, cucumber, nutmeg, and sorrel vinaigrettes which will pair well with any style of salad you prepare. Or if you are not pressed for time , what about DIY dressings with a base of yoghurt, blended avocado or olive oil and vinegar. That’s an entire post in itself and we’ll get into that next week.

For now, eating healthier on island time, just got easier. So let’s get on to achieving our 2017 goals!

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