It's the middle of summer and in most places of this earth, it is warm.
Like most, I tend to gravitate towards lighter meals in the warmer months that don't require lots of prep or even turning on my stove.
This is where salads can be on repeat, especially during this time where you can find an abundance of local and fresh fruits and vegetables at farmers markets.
Depending on where you live, your options may be limitless where you can have a bounty year around. Lucky you!
In any instance, when finding quality fresh produce, your salads can have such a variety, you most likely won't become bored with the same mundane, lettuce, tomato, cucumber combination we can gravitate to because its easy.
At a farmers market, you may find different and interesting produce such as a colorful combination of yellow, purple and traditional orange carrots. Or you may discover an interesting and colorful purple kohlrabi, which is similar somewhat to a cabbage texture. Both of these colorful vegetables make a great addition to a healthy salad.
With the right combinations, and a variety of colors, you can make delicious salads which won't take up too much of your time.
This healthy habit done consistently will reap you benefits of feeling full thanks to its high water content and fiber.
To give you a few ideas for salads, some of my simple favorites are:
Asian Style Cucumber Salad
Black Bean & Corn Salad (Mexican)
Roasted Caesar Salad with Avocado & Chicken
To keep your salad clean, consider making your salad dressings from scratch. This way your salad won't have the unnecessary additives and preservatives. The upside with making your own is you can control the ingredients and it just taste better!
You can keep it simple at times by just shaking the ingredients in a mason jar and using it later for upcoming salad meals. Simple oil and vinegar combinations works too!
If you are stuck on salad creations, I've attached a link where you can download a free e-book on creating sensational salads that also can be eaten as a meal. This resource also has side salads that are pretty awesome too.
44 Sensational Salads E-book
I hope you see that salads can be awesome for healthy living lifestyle because of their whole food benefits. They help with satiety and provide much needed nutrients to your body.
This is one healthy habit you can master easily by rotating with different combinations of colorful veggies and even fruits. If you can replace one meal a day, your body will adjust to wanting them more and that is a good thing.
Eat Good! Look Good! Feel Good!
Having a healthy living lifestyle is all about balance. But, realistically, we know sometimes mindful eating can be a challenge especially while vacationing.
I can personally relate to this as I've come back from a recent trip from Miami.
This popular vacation city is known for an array of delicious foods ranging from fresh seafood, Cuban delights and other appetizing cultural cuisines.
Part of my vacation itinerary was a food tour of "Little Havana" I especially like to do things like this to get a quick history of a city and its food culture.
My tour included stopping at a historical Cuban restaurant where I indulged in an empanada made with a beef filling of picadillo with green olives and the classic Cubano sandwich. Yum!
Also, during my tour, I discovered more history of Little Havana with multiple tastings at various venues.
I got to taste homemade churros dusted with cinnamon sugar with optional dipping sauces of "dulce de leche" (caramel sauce made with condensed milk ) or chocolate dipping sauce. A specialty ice cream made with cookie crumbles, cream cheese and finished off with a guava paste drizzle.
I got to taste a classic, refreshing and minty mojito at another interesting destination as I scrolled the place with interesting photos of Cuban culture.
The final stop of my culinary food tour was at a Cuban cigar shop which included a tasting of bold Cuban coffee for the grand finale. All I can say is the experience was totally worth it!
I mention all of the goodness of my food tour because I think sometimes people who want to live a healthy lifestyle may have the mindset they should never indulge in decadent food they don't normally eat.
But with anything for it to become a habit, a healthy lifestyle has to be doable and has to be something for the long term. So if you are eating healthy 80 percent of the time, and 20 percent of your time occasionally having a little comfort food within reason is totally fine.
Although my week vacation may not have been the healthiest, I was mindful of my eating as much as I could be and it can be the same with you.
So when it comes to you going on vacation and you are worried about how to enjoy without going overboard, here are some helpful strategies that I did which I hope you will consider too the next time you need to enjoy yourself.
Continue with your usual routine of exercise (muscle conditioning and cardio)
If your hotel has a gym, take advantage of using this perk. If no gym is available, do a routine in your hotel room using a fitness free app such as "Fiton" or your favorite Youtube videos.
Also explore on your own your vacation spot by doing plenty of walking. My culinary tour was a walking food tour so I had the advantage of built in exercise for this particular day.
Drink Plenty of Water
I know you've heard it before but its worth mentioning as a reminder. Sometimes we are more thirsty than hungry. Be sure to stay hydrated as it can help with bloating from foods you may consuming higher in sodium.
In addition, if you are drinking alcoholic beverages make sure to have a glass in between drinks to keep from getting dehydrated.
Make some of your meals lighter if you are going out for most dinners
My healthy daily routine is a breakfast protein shake which I eat as a meal replacement. By doing this, I am less hungry and eat less at other meals. (I bought a portable mini blender so I would have no excuses.) Whatever your healthy meals may be, try to plan them simply where it helps you to eat less during the day.
Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables as much as possible
We know whole foods will always shine when it comes to appetite control. Having a simple salad or eating a piece of fruit between meals helps to curb hunger and cravings.
As you can see, its ok to take a pause from healthy eating while on vacation. Your mindset wont go totally away while you give yourself a much needed break.
Once you are back into the swing of things of your normal routine, you'll discover you had wonderful experiences and you'll be back to eating the nutritious foods you love to fuel your body.
Eat Good! Look Good! Feel Good!
Vanessa LaBranche/Chef Instructor-Culinary Educator