As a Nutritionist and Personal Trainer, I am a huge fan of salads. After all, colourful veggies are great, full of nutrients without too many calories and full of fibre and protein which will help keep you fuller for longer and stop you picking at other more calorific foods later on in the day. You can also batch prep most salads and make a large salad in advance and store them in airtight containers in the fridge so that you can always make sure you have a quick, easy and nutritious meal to hand. If you are a busy mum this is great for saving time throughout the week! Those who know me well will laugh at me for making these salads as they look complicated sometimes but the truth is some of my favourite salads are as quick as making a sandwich and they will help you feel trim, toned and energised.
It is so important to get the ingredients right in your salad though because if you stick to the classic lettuce, tomato and cucumber you will only be left feeling hungry and deprived which is no fun for anyone. Instead, if you choose your ingredients wisely you will feel satisfied and healthy as well as help to trim your waist in the meantime too! Choose salads that are relatively easy to make and ones which contains plenty of the below superfood ingredients.
PROTEIN: Fish, lean meats, hard boiled eggs, quinoa, lentils and beans (especially chick peas!)
HEALTHY FATS: Avocado, nuts, (especially almonds and walnuts), olive oil, seeds and olives.
GREENS: Kale, spinach, romain (or any) lettuce, mixed greens, rocket, watercress and spinach.
FIBER: Cucumber, broccoli, asparagus, peas and cauliflower.
RAINBOW VEGGIES: Sweet potatoes, carrots, beets, purple cabbage, squash, courgette, red peppers, yellow or red tomatoes.
It is also possible however to overeat with salads so it is also important to be mindful of the dressing you use and other ingredients, especially when you are out for dinner. By ordering a salad (while thinking you are being virtuous), it does not necessarily mean that it is good for your waistline. The mantra “I’ll just have a salad” can be a dieter’s dream or a diet disaster depending on what goes into that salad. For example, the chicken Caesar salad at Pizza Express contains a whopping 1160 calories, that is more than half a day’s calories for the average woman!! It contains globs of dressings, croutons, and more.
So next time you order a salad while you are eating out, make sure you order your dressing on the side and have a drizzle of olive oil and/or balsamic instead, and choose one which follows my guidelines above with plenty of greens and protein. Avoid croutons, dough balls, creamy dressings, crisps and bacon bits. If you follow these guidelines you can’t go too wrong! You will also save lots of calories while getting plenty of nutrients.
So as the famous saying goes ‘Flat Abs are made in the Kitchen’ and if you are looking to get back in shape after the birth of your baby here are 5 of my absolute favourite salads for you to include in your daily meal plan. It is also best to make your own salad dressing so here is one recipe here for you that you can use sparingly on your salads (it make more than 1 portion so use sparingly!) Basic Olive Oil and Vinegar Dressing 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 1 tbsp red wine vinegar, 1/8 tsp oregano, ¼ tsp good quality sea salt, juice from 1/8 lime. Mix and pour!
(1.) Moroccan Chickpea Salad
Ingredients: To make 2 servings – 1 x 400gram tin of cooked organic chickpeas (rinsed), ½ garlic clove crushed, ½ large green chilli seeded and very finely diced (or 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper), squeeze of lemon, ½ tbsp red wine or apple cider vinegar, 2 tbsp olive oil, ½ medium cucumber (peeled and finely diced), 5 cherry tomatoes (halved and finely diced) and 1 very small bunch of each of fresh mint and coriander roughly chopped and season with sea salt and black pepper.
Directions: Put the garlic, chilli, lemon juice, onion, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper into a small mixing bowl, stir well and add the rest of the ingredients. Serve with a serving of protein such as fish, meat or quinoa. Top tip: Play around with the ingredients in this salad. I also love this salad with grated carrot and 1/3 cup soaked raisins! You can also try 1/3 cup chopped walnuts and you can replace chickpeas with any beans of your choice.
(2.) Quick Quinoa Salad
Ingredients: Serves 2 – 2 cups baby spinach leaves, ½ cup Quinoa, cooked according to packet instructions, 1 tbsp walnuts, 1 red pepper finely chopped, crushed, 1 lemon, 2 tsp balsamic vinegar.
Directions: Place spinach, quinoa, pepper and walnuts into a large bowl. Squeeze the juice from your lemon over the salad and drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Toss and serve or put in a tupper ware to take with you J Add chicken, tofu, fish or black beans if you want to make this salad a little more
(3.) Chicken/Salmon or Veggie Superfood Salad
Ingredients: To make 2 servings – 2 tbsp quinoa, ½ a head of broccoli, 300 gms free range chicken thighs cut up (and soaked in the marinade below) or 4 x 70gms salmon fillets, 2 handfuls rocket, 2 handfuls of baby spinach, 2 tomatoes finely chopped, 120 gms frozen peas, 1 lemon, 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 3 tbsp aioli, 2 tbsp toasted seeds, a hefty sprinkling of chopped mint, parsley and seasoned with sea salt and pepper.
Directions: Marinate your salmon or chicken as in the recipe below. Cook up your quinoa and steam your broccoli for 3-5 mins, then leave both to cool. Then you can either grill or pan fry your chicken or salmon until it is thoroughly cooked (use a spray of cooking oil if it is in a pan). Mix your green salad together, then scatter your quinoa over the top before adding your protein and then your seeds and herbs to finish. Serve with a wedge of lemon. Marinade: 2 tbsp olive oil, 3 tbsp lemon juice, 1-2 cloves of chopped garlic
(4.) Tuna Nicoise
Ingredients: Serves 2 – 2 medium free range eggs, large handful of fine green beans, trimmed, 2 large cups of romaine salad leaves, 160gm tinned tuna steak, 6 canned anchovy fillets, 4 ripe tomatoes quartered, handful black olives, dressing of your choice from the above selection.
Directions: Hard or soft boil your 2 eggs, then put them in cold water to chill them. Cook the beans until tender and rinse until cold. Peel and cut the eggs into quarters and roughly tear or shred the lettuce leaves and divide between 2 plates. Top with the eggs, beans, flaked tuna, anchovy fillets, tomatoes and olives. Drizzle on the dressing.
(5.) Healthy Chef’s Salad
Ingredients: Serves 2 – 2 cups of mixed green salad of your choice, 200gms cooked turkey (100gm per person), ½ avocado, ¼ cup radishes, 1 cup alfafa sprouts, ½ cup grated carrot, 2 boiled eggs sliced, ½ cup cherry tomatoes halved, ¼ cucumber sliced or grated, 2 tsp healthy dressing of your choice.
Directions: Arrange the greens in the bottoms of your bowl and place the rest of the vegetable toppings in a pretty fan shape around it. Put your dressing in the middle and then stir in if you wish. All the vegetables in the recipe can be replaced with others if you prefer something else.
I hope you enjoy these recipes! If you would like to ask any questions about them please email firstname.lastname@example.org I would be very happy to help you.
Don’t worry if you didn’t exercise throughout your pregnancy and have a fit pregnancy, you can still lose the baby weight, strengthen your core and pelvic floor and get your body back with the correct nutrition and post-natal exercise. For more information about the True Vitality 4 Mums post-natal 12 Week Transformation Programme, please email email@example.com xx
If you are looking for a Personal Trainer in Richmond, Personal Trainer in Twickenham, Personal Trainer in Kingston, Personal Trainer in Ascot and would like some advice on the best exercises for your body then contact firstname.lastname@example.org