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.
I’m a huge fan of the hawaiian inspired Poke Bowls! They can make a great base for lunch and dinner and contain lots ‘n lots of veggies, healthy fats and lean protein.
You can choose to opt for vegan options with tofu or tempeh, vegtarian bowls with hard boiled eggs or the fish based option displayed further on below with either salmon, crayfish or tuna.
I’m showing you how to make two of my favourite Poke Bowls here.
Since we’re all about veggies, let’s start off with a beautiful Vegan Protein Packed Poke Bowl!
- 1/2 pack of tempeh
- 1 handful of tauge
- 1 handful of fresh spinach
- 1 carrot, cut into thin stalks
- 1/4 cucumber, cut into thin stalks
- 50g of cooked buckwheat noodles OR kelp noodles
- 1/2 avocado
- 1 handful edamame beans⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
- 1 tbsp kimchi
- sesame seeds for seasoning
- mint & cilantro for seasoning (optional)
- 1 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp sriracha sauce
- Freshly ground black pepper
Start with heating your oven to 200 degrees celsius. Make the marinade combining all ingredients in a deep plate, cut the tempeh into chunky stalks and put the stalks in the marinate for approx. 15 minutes.
Meanwhile cook your noodles according to the description on the package and move along to cutting and preparing all vegetables.
Once the oven is preheated, layer a baking tray with parchment sheet and put the tempeh stalks on the tray. Bake the tempeh for 10 minutes.
Continue with layering out all vegetables in a deep bowl. Once done, add the tempeh to your bowl and sprinkle with some sesame seeds, mint and cilantro.
I like to eat this bowl with a splash of lemon, tamari and good quality olive oil. Enjoy!
Moving on to the pescetarian option: Here’s my take on a simple, low carb and veggie-loaded poke bowl including salmon and crayfish.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
You’ll need: ⠀
- 1 organic wild salmon fillet⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
- 1 handful crayfish (optional)⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
- 1/2 broccoli, steamed⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
- 1 handful edamame beans⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
- 1 carrot, sliced⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
- 1 handful cherry tomatoes, halved⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
- 1/4 cucumber, sliced⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
- 1/2 avocado⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
- 2 handfuls of spinach⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
- some sprouts for toppings⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
- 3 tbsp olive oil ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
- 2 tbsp tamari ⠀⠀
- 1/2 lemon⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
- Pepper & Salt to season ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Start with marinating your salmon in 1 EL tamari and 1 EL olive oil. Set aside for approx. 20 minutes. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Meanwhile, steam the broccoli until tender but still crispy and cut the cherry tomatoes in half, slice the carrot and avocado.
Start layering the veggies into a deep plate or bowl, starting with the spinach and then adding the broccoli, edamame, tomatoes, carrots and avocado. Add the marinated salmon and sprinkle with a dressing of 2 tbsps olive oil, 1 tbsp tamari, the juice of half a lemon, pepper & salt. Top off with some sprouts. Et voila, enjoy!
Buddha bowls are everywhere and for a good reason! They are healthy, nourishing, delicious and usually satisfy your hunger for quite some time compared to rather skinny salads.
Here’s a wintery take with some nice and grounding root vegetables, plant based proteins and good fats.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 1 small quarter of a hokkaido squash
- 1/4 cup uncooked quinoa
- 1 cooked beetroot
- 1 big handful of mushrooms (I use oyster mushrooms & porcini)
- 1/4 cucumber
- 1 big carrot
- 1 small can of chickpeas
- 1 small head of romaine lettuce
- olive oil
- chilli powder
Optional, but very nice:
- 1/2 avocado
- 1 tbsp sauerkraut
- 2 tbsps extra virgen olive oil
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- pepper & salt to season
Preheat the oven to 200 degress celsius and line a baking try with parchment sheet. Cut your pumpkin into chunky slices, place them on the baking try and sprinkle with olive oil, pepper and salt. Rinse the can of chickpeas thoroughly and add them to the baking tray as well, along with some olive oil, pepper, salt and chili powder. Once the oven is preheated, bake the pumpkin and chickpeas for approx. 20 minutes, checking up on them regularly.
Meanwhile, rinse and cook the quinoa according to the description on the package. Slice the beetroot into thin sticks and using a spiralizer, create beautiful long, spaghetti like spirals from the carrot and cucumber. Don’t worry if you don’t have a spiralizer at home, you can also use a knife and cut the veggies into thin stripes.
Start layering your salad leaves on a deep bowl, add the veggies and quinoa. Once done, also layer the pumpkin and chickpeas on top.
Mix your dressing made from olive oil, apple cider vinegar and lemon and generously sprinkle it over your bowl.
Tip: Once you’re at it anyway: why not make a bigger batch of oven roasted pumpkin and chickpeas which you can reuse in other meals? This will save you lots of time later on and create a filling and nourishing base to work with.