Hello Sweet Friends,
How do I get a meal on the table every night… Well let me tell you “it ain’t easy.”
I will not kid you …every night is NOT a fresh home-cooked 3 course dinner. We have lots of evening activities. The kids current sport, basketball, brings lots of practices and games. There are piano lessons for Lil and lots of school homework and projects to do just like you and your family.
To make sure that my husband and I get a healthy dinner on the table every night, it is “B-I-G” salads (Seinfeld reference here) and lots of hearty soups or chili dishes. I usually grocery shop on Friday or Monday and then Monday is always my salad making days. I make enough so that hubby and I have enough for the weekday nights (Lil will also eat just baby spinach, cheese and olives, yeah.) I use a lot of the cleaned spinach and cut and wash hearty romaine lettuce to which I add red onion, cucumbers, red peppers, olives, tomatoes and chickpeas and then right before we eat our salad each night we add pepitas and pistachio nuts and Newman’s Own Light dressing.
This in itself is sometimes enough of a meal for me depending on when and what I had for lunch. I will usually make a good hearty soup and a chili for the week. Yes I know salad and soup/chili every night??!! Tell me your chicken and broccoli doesn’t get boring too. Most of the time for us, it is just about making sure we get our bellies full of healthy nutrients and the weekends can be for fancier (calorie rich) meals whether made at home or dining out.
Why a salad? Look at all the great benefits — Power nutrients in all of these food groups
- Spinach & Romaine – Leafy greens, more so than other vegetables, play a significant role in decreasing our risk of diabetes, possibly because of their fiber and magnesium, which helps thyroid hormone secretions, metabolism and overall nerve and muscle function. The best way to get your Vitamin C is through natural sources such as romaine lettuce and turnip greens.
- Red Onion – Onions as well as leeks, chives, shallots and scallions are from the Allium family and wonderful body detoxers. They stimulate the body to fight free radicals where they live throughout the body.
- Tomatoes – All red fruits and veggies share the phytochemical lycopene, a powerful cancer fighting antioxidant. Lycopene halts oxidative stress, the process by which LDL particles harden and gunk up the arteries. One of the richest sources of lycopene is the tomato.
- Red Peppers – Peppers like all colorful plant foods are incredible sources of soluble and insoluble fiber – both essential for hormone balance and impossible to get from animal products. Each group of veggie, divided by color, offer their own particular health-promoting strengths. So eat the rainbow of veggies.
- Olives – Contains antioxidant vitamin E, and they also contain small amounts of antioxidant minerals like selenium and zinc.
- Chickpeas – aka Legumes, do contain carbs but the best kind of carbs. They are the richest source of soluble fiber which is a key to good blood sugar control. One study found that by adding 5% of this resistant starch to your meal, will increase your postmeal fat burn and 80% of that fat comes from your belly and hips. Yeah 🙂 Plus, beans leave you feeling fuller, store less fat and lower your cholesterol and triglycerides and improve your insulin sensitivity. More beans please!
- Nuts – Omega 3’s, antioxidants, fiber and magnesium in nuts and seeds help with inflammation in the body. When people eat nuts they tend to have lower levels of C-reative protein and interleukin-6 both markers of inflammation. Research suggests that people who eat nuts twice a week are much less likely to gain weight than those who don’t eat nuts. Try eating raw nuts whenever possible – roasting the nuts can cause their precious fats to be damaged.
P.S. Making the salads in the individual bowls (they don’t all have to match, mine don’t) keeps them fresh for 5 days. I have tried cutting all the veggies and bagging them separately but they get soggy and gross. Trust me on this one. They stay fresh this way. I have been making them this way for years. Yes it does help that with an Italian background a second refrigerator in the basement is mandatory so we do have the extra room to store them. Also I do cover and stack them to get them in there!
So that “boring” salad doesn’t have to be boring anymore!! Put lots of veggies, beans and nuts in it and you will have yourself a Nutrient Powerhouse of a Salad.
Please leave me a comment below and tell me if you plan to add a nightly salad to your dinner.
Love, Health and Happiness to you my friend,
reference Jillian Michaels Master Your Metabolism – a New York Times Bestseller