Summer’s here! Time for some summer sun together with friends and family again. This is my absolute favorite time of the year! The blossoming nature, sunny days and lifted Covid regulations just put a big big smile on my face.
These warmer days call for lighter foods, perfect for fresh salads and summery fruit, so in this post I wanted to share some tips for the perfect salad bowl with you that will taste delicious and nourish you inside and out.
While the temperatures rise and the sun sets late, this weather calls for evenings outside with friends and family. Picnics and BBQs are on the weekly menu and call for food that is easy to transport and prepare.
When eating together with others, we often tend to make less healthy choices, especially when there’s some good wine or aperol spritz involved;)..
Many of us experience this period as a bit tricky therefore and often get up the next day with feelings of shame and guilt around the food choices that they have made.
First off, I want you to realize that great health and the right weight that comes along with it is so much more than simply healthy foods!
We know now that our mental well-being is very much connected to our physical state.
So try and be a little more loving with yourself on these summery nights. Go ahead and enjoy the bbq, bread, burger with mayonnaise or pasta salad.
Try and see nights like these as a treat that you deserve every now and then. Allowing yourself to indulge every now and then will make it easier to get back to your healthy routine afterwards.
Ok, now with that said let’s have a look at a couple of simple and effective tips to make those BBQs and picnic a little healthier:
Load up on big and nourishing salads – Wait how? No worries, I got you covered, just read on below!
Bring your own salad dressing if the salad is store bought – simple olive oil with fresh lemon can do the trick!
Make your own sauces – a homemade yoghurt tzatziki is a yummy sauce for any chicken skewers or bbq fish!
Put some veggies on your grill: Aubergine, Leek, Courgette, Bell Peppers are damn tasty on the BBQ!
Try and skip the bread, especially if it is the white kind of processed bread!
Alternate between alcohol and water – the golden rule is 1 glass of alcohol, followed by a big glass of water!
Salads are probably my favorite dish to make, they’re incredibly versatile and leave me with a fantastic feeling in my body. Now that the warmer months have started, they are just the thing that our bodies crave: minerals, hydration and fresh produce!
In this summer edition I wanted to share a couple of tips with you to help build a solid salad that will be both tasty and nourishing.
Step 1 Greens
When choosing your greens try and opt for deep colours like dark green or even purple and red. This is where the good stuff is at! While an iceberg salad mainly contains water, the dark leafy green variations are loaded with minerals, vitamins, fibers and antioxidants.These little helplings do not only block free radicals, they also activate your body’s own antioxidant defenses; leaving you with a boost in skin- and overall health. WinWin! Think of spinach, kale, lambs lettuce, rucola, dandelion greens, endive, radicchio, mesclun and watercress.
Step 2 Protein
Always, I repeat, always try to include some sort of lean protein in your salad bowl. This is what will help you stay full and energized for hours and hours. More about that in my online course: Eat Well, Feel Good: An Introduction to Nutrition.
Great examples are: lentils, chickpeas, soybeans, eggs, chicken, tuna, tempeh or hemp seeds
Step 3 Fats
Just as proteins, a portion of healthy fats is a vital ingredient of your salad bowl in order to nourish your body, stabilize your blood sugars and provide you with enough energy to feed on.
Opt for avocado, olives, almonds, walnuts, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flaxseed, sesame seeds, good quality extra virgin olive oil, some organic feta or goats cheese, sardines, mackerel or wild salmon
Step 4 Dressing
This is such an essential for a yummy salad that you want to eat over and over again. Especially for those of you that are not so fond of salads or raw veggies yet – a great dressing will definitely do the trick. Your dressing can however also add unnecessary sugars or other nasties to your otherwise healthy and nutritious salad – my ultimate tip for that is to always try and ensure to make your dressing from scratch. Like that you’ll stay in control over what you consume, easy as that!
Personally, I think great quality olive oil does the trick. Opt for extra virgin to benefit from all those good Omega 3 fatty acids.
Adding some fresh lemon, lime or orange juice will provide a fresh taste and extra nutrients.
Apple Cider Vinegar is both tasty and also very good for your gut.
Coconut Aminos, tamari & miso can be fantastic add ons for Asian salads and are much healthier than traditional soy sauce, oyster sauce and ketjap.
Tamari and yoghurt will create a smoother and creamier texture along with a deliciously nutty flavour.
Step 5 Toppings
Toppings will make your salads so much more interesting! They add flavour, texture and lots of extra nutrients.
Great toppings to use are:
-fresh baby sprouts (like alfalfa, broccoli sprouts, pea shoots or radish sprouts)
-lemon or lime zest (humongous health benefits and adding a zingy fresh flavor to basically anything you eat)
-homemade croutons, the perfect way of recycling your old using some olive oil, herbs, peper & salt
-shaved parmesan cheese
-nuts & seeds, these guys offer great and healthy fats as well as proteins. Read on below for a simple and very taste seed sprinkle recipe
Here’s a foolproof and very tasty seed sprinkle recipe for you to pimp your salads, sandwiches and soups. I use this on a daily for an extra boost of fibres, healthy & unsaturated omega 3 fatty acids as well as plant based protein – basically aaaall the good stuff.
Here’s what you need:
Curry Powder / Garam Masala
Pepper & Salt
Unflavoured coconut oil
Heat the oven to 200 degrees celsius. In a big mixing bowl, combine the seeds with the spices, pepper & salt
Layer your oven tray with a baking sheet and sprinkle the coconut oil on top. Add the seeds and mix well with the oil.
Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes let it cool down fully and store in an airtight container.
To me, intuitive eating is all about establishing a connection to our bodies and listening to the symptoms that our bodies send us on a daily base. This stems from the realization that our bodies are absolute supercomputers. Our heart never skips a beat, blood is continuously pumped through our veins and there is probably no smarter machine out there than our fabulous bodies. They also know exactly what they need in terms of food and they actually tell us as well, we just need to learn to listen to the symptoms. Now that’s what I call an intuitive connection!
How to Eat Intuitively
Do you recognize feeling bloated, low in energy, knackered or down after eating? These are all symptoms of your body being out of balance or not reacting well towards a specific product or food category.
If you feel supercharged, light and energetic after a meal, chances are that your body absolutely loves what you just ate and would like you to have more of that.
In order to establish an intuitive connection with your body you need to become more aware of what you feed it with everyday. In my practice I like to use a food diary for this with my clients. A food diary is a great tool to connect the dots, understand patterns in your diet and act as an accountability partner for you.
Especially if you deal with low energy throughout the day or struggle with your gut health it can be super insightful to write down when you felt a certain shift. These observations can really help you to create more consciousness around your diet and what kind of foods your body reacts well to what it does not like.
Rating Your Hunger
Another great exercise to eat more intuitively is to rate your hunger. You can do this by rating your hunger before and after every meal using the following range from 1 to 8:
- Feeling starved, dizzy, weak
- Very hungry, stomach growling
- Quite hungry, stomach growling starts
- The hunger is slowly rising
- Neither hungry nor full, contentment
- A bit full, pleasant.
- Somewhat uncomfortably full, feeling of fullness
- Very full, nausea and even stomach ache
So if we have a look at what this all means:
- If you constantly enter a 1 or 2 before your meal, you’re probably likely to overeat and end up at a 7 or 8 after the meal
- If you don’t really feel hunger, so around 7 or 8 before the meal, you might be eating too much in between, so skips those snacks
- Ideally we want to feel relatively hungry, somewhere between a 3 and 4, when starting our meal and pleasant and content, somewhere between a 5 and 6 when finishing it.
This really is that sweet spot where our body is able to absorb nutrients and food the best. Try and remember this feeling and eat or stop whenever you experience the same feeling again.
Give these exercises a try and have fun doing so. Remember to not be too strict with your own yourself, it’s completely ok to not write down what you ate or how you felt every single day. None of us are perfect and Rome wasn’t built in a day;)
Putting this into practice
If you’d like to find out what healthy eating and establishing an intuitive connection with your body could mean for you, the Eat Well, Feel Good Introduction to Nutrition Course could be helpful with that. I created a fun, easy and short course for those who are looking to understand what healthy eating is all about. The course consists of 6 modules and 22 videos. I devoted an entire chapter in the course to intuitive eating as this is really one of the cornerstones of feeling great, inside and out. The course is perfect for you if you’re looking to gain some general knowledge about good nutrition that you can easily put into practice. I’m sharing lots of handy tips & tricks with you, including a food diary template, lots of delicious recipes and print outs to make your life around shopping and eating much more fun and easy. Head to the Online Course section to find out more!
Nutrition Coaching: What is that? And how does it work? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
I have developed the Naela method to guide my clients through a 3- or 6 months trajectory. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
These are 5 practical steps to kickstart a lifetime of healthy eating that is fun & enjoyable:⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
- Love ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
It all starts with Nourish!⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Once you realize that food really is medicine, you unlock the door to your ideal health, beauty and well-being. When coaching clients, I focus on foods that nourish you, make you feel energized, fit and strong. They’ll make your skin glow, your hair shine and your nails grow, because that is what nature can do for us! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
There are so many foods out there that can work wonders for you when you fill up your plate with them. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Next to nutrition, we will also work with lifestyle related habits that will help you nourish your body and achieve ideal health. A healthy lifestyle is more than just a healthy diet. Both science and common sense have shown us the importance of sleep, relaxation, movement and support.
Knowledge is power. However, without action you won’t receive any results. Throughout the program, I’ll be your accountability partner, keeping you motivated and enthusiastic. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Willpower and motivation are driving factors in your health journey. Together, we’ll find your intrinsic motivation, triggering certain behaviors that naturally feel good to you and do good to your body. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Food alone is not the answer, we will also have a close look at your workout regime and the foods that you can eat to boost your workout and metabolism even more. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
My approach is one step at a time, in order to help you cultivate new habits that you can actually stick to. The Naela Method focuses on sustainability rather than short successes. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Dividing the advice up into chewable pieces, you will be able to easily incorporate the tips and tricks into your life, one bite at the time.
Food holds much more significance than just energy or calories. It is a way to connect, celebrate, discover, relax, nourish and enjoy. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
I want to help you find that enjoyment of preparing food and eating the right foods that make you feel good. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
I am a firm believer of positive nutrition, the principle of adding in instead of crowding out. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Once you found this perfect combination of foods that actually work for your body, there is no need to restrict yourself.
Throughout the program, we will explore your relationship to food.
Together we’ll identify any limiting beliefs that keep you from realizing your goals. We will dive into your thoughts, influences and emotions around food in order to create change.
My aim for you is to have a healthy and guilt-free relationship with food, in which you permit yourself to enjoy in moderation and lead a lifestyle that makes you feel fantastic.
This last step of the Naela Method is all about acceptance, balance and allowance. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
If you make conscious choices about what you consume 80% of the time, then it is perfectly fine to enjoy a little for the remaining 20% of the time – that is the mantra that my clients and me live by. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Nobody is perfect and if you really want to create a sustainable lifestyle, eating and living perfectly healthy 100% of the time simply won’t be possible. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
I will teach you to intuitively listen to your body and it’s needs as our bodies are true supercomputers, smarter than any machine out there and capable of so much. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
This program is all about allowing some positivity into your diet, which will automatically cut out any unnecessary cravings, kilo’s, thoughts or behavioural patterns.
Factcheck: Did you know that 95% (!!) of the people who go on a strict diet gain all those lost kilos and even more once they go off the diet?
Yes you read that correctly! Diets, fasts and all sorts of quick fixes don’t work in the long run unfortunately and that is why I want to encourage you to look for long lasting solutions to change your lifestyle for good. I’m here to help you turn things around so that you don’t feel like you need to constantly restrict yourself.
I invite you to clean up your attitude towards food, towards your body, towards health. Its not a quick fix, not something that happens overnight, not something that a powder can do for you but consistent work. It’s about educating yourself, stepping up for yourself and doing the work each and every single day.
My blog is here to support you with all the knowledge, motivation and inspiration you need in order to create a healthy balance for yourself that feels great!
Things that cleaning up your lifestyle center around:
- Clean Up your Drinks: There is a lot of confusion and misconception when it comes to healthy drinks.
Coffee & Tea: Coffee is widely discussed and truth be told – it offers great benefits but also has its downsides. Nutritional science is not 100% pro or con coffee yet. While it can be a fantastic energizer and does contain some beneficial antioxidants, it can also cause anxiety, disrupt sleep and is often paired with unhealthy sugars, syrups or milk. Like with many things in nutrition, moderation seems to be key here. Try and keep it to a max of no more than 3 cups of coffee a day and even better: switch it up a little with some green or white tea or a cup of matcha. For everybody wondering what the heck matcha is and what kind of benefits green and white tea have to offer – I’ve written an article explaining why these teas are actually great for us and how to use and drink them.
Smoothies & Juices: Smoothies are a great way of loading up on many many different veggies and fruit. In fact, smoothies are a better choice than juices when it comes to getting in as many nutrients as possible. And that is because all the goodies, the fibre, vitamins and other nutrients will be more available in a smoothie than a juice which often ends up being sugary water rather than the healthy quick fix we often hope for. So save your money on expensive juices, get a good blender and stock up your fruit & veggie drawer!
- Clean Up Your Diet:
Try and focus on wholefoods, which are not processed, do not come with an ingredient list and cook from scratch. Like that you remain in control over what enters your body. Ideally we want to opt for a plate that consists of 60% coloful veggies, 20% lean protein, 10% healthy fats and 10% complex carbodhydrates. In case this leaves you wondering – What the heck are healthy fats and complex carbohydrates and why do I need them? – then I might just have something in store for you: I’ve created an online course in which I help you create a solid foundation in healthy nutrition and understand what food can do for you. It is packed with practical tips & tricks and lots of handy lists and recipes to use in your everyday life. Find more information about the course, prices and modules here.
- Clean Up your Pantry, Storage:
A well stocked storage cabinet can be of tremenduous help when wanted to eat healthy on a small budget and without spending too much time in the kitchen. I listed a bunch of products that I always have at hand in this post. They come in especially handy for creating a quick, delicious and nurturing lunch that will keep you full until dinner. With these staples at hand, whipping up a lunch bowl will take no longer than 5 minutes, you see, preparation is key.
Products that run a long ingredient list or contain things like hydrogenated fats or high fructose corn syrup should end up in the trash straight away. Also, if you’re busy changing your lifestyle for the better, don’t set yourself up for failure by keeping bags of chips, cookies and chocolate in your storage. Clear out your storage regularly and make sure to stock up on the good stuff.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
- Shopping Tips: Stay tuned to find out about my top three supermarket hacks and watch outs
- Easy Prepping Tips: About spending your time in the kitchen a little more efficiently – More info will follow soon
- Food Swaps: What you really should be munching and snacking on instead.. stay tuned!
- Supplements: Some general rules and watch outs when buying vitamins, minerals and other supplements, more about this soon