Summer is the perfect season for salads. Not only does the hot weather call for lighter fare, but the abundance of fresh, local produce available around Newmarket makes for exciting new flavour combinations. Say goodbye to boring bowls of lettuce and hello to salads bursting with vibrant veggies, piled high with protein for a powerful and nutritious meal that will keep you fueled all day long.
“Protein is the key,” says Lisa Rawson, Align’s Ideal Protein lifestyle coach. “Let’s face it, a bowl of lettuce isn’t going to do anything for you—protein is the thing that sustains you.” According to Lisa, there are several benefits to adding more protein to your diet. Unlike carbohydrates—which cause a spike in blood sugar and a short-lived illusion of fullness—protein balances blood sugar and takes longer to digest, helping us to stay full for longer.
There are so many ways to incorporate protein sources into your favourite salad recipes. Dicing up grilled chicken or steak, along with some juicy grilled vegetables, makes a wonderful warm dinner salad; whereas hard boiled eggs, tuna, salmon and other fish make for easy lunch salads on the go. “Salads are a great way to use up leftovers,” adds Lisa. “If you didn’t finish your protein serving at dinner, throw the leftovers into a salad for the next day.”
Here are some of Lisa’s go-to recipes for creative and nutritious salads guaranteed to satisfy your entire family:
Big Mac in a Bowl
No, your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you—one of Lisa’s favourite salad creations is a twist on the fast food favourite. This de-constructed burger salad consists of cooked ground beef, pickles and onions, on a bed of iceberg lettuce. To re-create that classic burger flavour Lisa suggests using Walden Farms 1,000 Island dressing, which contains no calories, fat, carbs, or sugars, making it a great alternative to regular off-the-shelf dressings.
Turkey Taco Bowl
This salad isn’t just a fiesta of flavours. Ground turkey provides over 25 grams of protein per 100 grams, making this lean meat a great choice for salads. Lisa starts by cooking the turkey in a sugar free, low-sodium taco seasoning. Then she assembles her salad with spinach, raw onion, cilantro and her favourite fresh veggies.
“If the kids aren’t happy with that, crush up some tortilla chips and top the salad with shredded cheese,” adds Lisa. “A lot of people on Ideal Protein, or any other diet for that matter, think they need to make different meals for their family—but no, you don’t!”
Sweet & Spicy Trail Mix Salad Topper
When in doubt, add a little crunch to your salad. Ideal Protein’s Sweet & Spicy Trail Mix is a blend of cayenne and tamari spices with a touch of honey, sprinkled on pumpkin seeds, soybeans and chickpeas. Though many think of it as a snack, adding the trail mix to your salad not only kicks up the flavour, but provides you with 11 grams of added protein.
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