As someone who has been helping others improve their nutrition for a while now, I hear a lot of preconceived notions about what working with a dietitian is like. One of the most common misconceptions is that a dietitian will tell you to eat boring salad all day with only boring lettuce. It’s SO not true.
Salads CAN be exciting and fun so if anyone ever tells you to eat a bunch of plain lettuce to help fill you up to mask your hunger…RUN AWAY.
Then come back here for the friendly reminder that food needs to be livable, doable, guilt free AND delicious. Which brings me to my point that salads are only as exciting as you make them. I use a couple of determining factors in how I build a salad that is filling, appealing, and satisfying.
- Base of greens – I try to mix up my greens but there’s nothing wrong with iceberg or Romaine lettuce.
- Base of pasta/grain – An alternative to the greens! Salad does not have to equal leafy greens.
- Protein – This could be meat or plant based such as hard boiled eggs, nuts, hemp seeds, chicken, tuna, etc.
- Fat – Fat is healthy for us and also helps us feel satisfied and full longer. I like to add a flavored olive oil (like blood orange!), avocado, cheese, or cottage cheese.
- Fiber – Get some extra fiber in there with additional fruits and veggies! I try to add contrasting colors to my salad at this point to help it look even more appealing.
Salads can be fun as a side or as a main course. This salad below is pretty filling on its own but I’ve already changed it up by having some over a bed of spinach and another with grilled chicken. It also lasted me all week long!
Vegetarian Quinoa Summer Salad
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa you could switch this to any grain, if using a traditional pasta, use two cups raw
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 cucumber, seeded and chopped
- 4 oz feta
- 1/4 red onion, chopped if you don't like the strong flavor of red onion just use sweet or yellow
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 2 tbsp olive oil if you have a flavored olive oil, try that
- Cook quinoa according to package. Allow to cool completely
- Chop all veggies into small pieces
- Mix veggies, oil, lemon juice, feta into the bowl with the cooled off quinoa (otherwise feta will melt)
- Eat and enjoy!
You can add more protein like meat, beans, hemp seeds, nuts, or seeds. You could also switch up the grain for a different texture.
If you make the recipe, be sure to snap a photo and tag me on Instagram @the_beer_dietitian
I hope this helps to negate any old thoughts about what working with a dietitian is like. This is just the tip of the iceberg! There’s SO much more to it and I hope you’ll keep sticking around, sign up for my email mug-club group, and ask questions too!