This is a salad we eat most days for lunch with some protein like chicken, smoked fish, a bean/pulse salad or a couple of eggs. The main thing about a salad is it needs to be almost completely raw, take up at least 50% of your plate and have lots of different colours to give you a range of nutrients. You’ll see some blanched frozen peas in the picture here, because I love them. (Thaw frozen petit pois in sieve under hot tap, put in bowl, cover generously with boiling water, leave 1 min, strain, run under cool tap and add to salads). If you’re packing this lunch to eat later, simply throw in handful frozen peas – will keep everything cool and take a couple hours to melt.
If you’re in a hurry you don’t have to have all the ingredients – mix and match.
Leaves (choose one or 2, more if you want):
A generous 2-hand handful torn up: choose from rocket, chicory, lettuce, endive, radicchio, organic baby spinach, nasturtium leaves, watercress, pea shoots etc.
Colours (choose 3 or 4, more if you want):
1 large tomato or handful cherry tomatoes , cut in bite size pieces
2 spring onions or 1/4 red onion, sliced thinly
1/2 red/yellow pepper, sliced
Cup of sliced cucumber, courgette, fennel or celery or a bit of everything
Grilled artichokes (drain off the low-grade oil before adding)
1 tbs olives
Optional: 1/4-1/2 soft avocado, cubed (healthy fats aid weight management)
1-3 dsp extra virgin dressing https://www.annacollins.ie/mediterranean-salad-dressing/ OR https://www.annacollins.ie/asian-dressing/
Starch (not more than 1/4 of your meal though):
beetroot (cooked and sliced or raw and grated), small carrot, peeled and grated, thinly sliced raw butternut squash, some leftover cooked baby boiled potatoes, sweet potatoes or roasted squash
Gut-bacteria modifying boost:
1 clove raw garlic, crushed
Optional carbs (no more than 1/4 of the meal):
Grated or chopped beetroot
Cold cooked potatoes (NOT for SC diet)
1. Throw everything in a big bowl, add 1-3 dsp extra virgin oil-based dressing and toss til coated.
2. Eat with a palm sized portion meat, fish, couple of eggs or a cup of cooked beans/pulses.
Why this is good for you:
Fresh raw vegetables, especially when organic, are packed with vitamin C and biofoavonoids. These strengthen skin and connective tissue, speed healing and help prevent digestive disorders. You need vitamin C from raw foods, folate from dark green leafy veg (eg spinach, chard, broccoli), and bioflavonoids to help maintain digestive wellness. Greens are also rich in magnesium, which helps you relax your mind and body and fight infections.
Getting into the habit of eating a salad every lunchtime is one of the best things you can do for your health. Veggies in your daily diet also give you a beautiful golden skin tone after 6-8 weeks, according to a study I quoted in one of my e-newsletters last year. Spices and herbs in my special Mediterranean dressing lower numbers of “bad” bacteria in your gut and support growth of healthy bacteria that impact on everything – even weight management and mood.