Lunch doesn’t have to be boring, or a sandwich, or a soggy wrap, or leftovers. You certainly don’t need to fork out obscene amounts of money at a gourmet cafe for a quick healthy salad.
I am going to share a few of my favourite pull together salad ingredients in the hope that it inspires you to get creative, plan ahead and enjoy amazing lunches wherever you are during the day!
Firstly I always have a bag of mixed greens in the fridge. I love the baby salad and beetroot from woollies because before you have even done anything else you have a rainbow of vegetables to start with.
Here are some other yummy salad ingredients to think about adding – there is no end to the number of options – these are my current favourites but they do tend to change regularly!
Roast pumpkin, cauliflower, broccoli and feta salad.
Some of these suggestions like the pumpkin or tomatoes I like to make in bulk and keep them in little containers in the fridge and I make a big batch of dressing for the week too. Then pulling together a gourmet salad is incredibly quick and easy.
Some ideas for your salad:
Firstly, I always like to have a source of protein (apart from the nuts and cheese) such as chicken, leftover steak from the night before, tuna or tofu. See below for some preparation tips:
- Chicken: You can steam/poach/grill/bbq/ or fry up some chicken breast in some coconut or olive oil. Add some spices or a squeeze of lemon for some zesty flavour. I have been steaming a few breasts at the beginning of the week and we have been using in salad, as snacks etc … great source of protein. Choose free range or organic if you can …
- Tofu: I love to chop up a little bit of firm organic Tofu (make sure it is GM free) – say 75grams into little bite sized squares and cook it in some coconut oil until it goes brown and crispy – yum! You can marinate it before cooking in a little tamari or lemon juice for added flavour …
- Tinned tuna/salmon – always easy to take with you if you are on the go or at work. If you are going to use the flavoured variety check the ingredients as some are cleaner (i.e. no nasties added) than others. The lemon/pepper flavour, zesty vinaigrette or chilli ones are quite good.
- Legumes – Some well rinsed organic chick peas, cannellini beans, kidney beans or lentils are great in a salad.
Here are some other yummy extras you can think about adding:
- Chopped veggies – think capsicum, cucumber, mushrooms, tomatoes (if you aren’t using the roasted ones see below), snow peas, sprouts …
- Steamed veggies – such as broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, zucchini …
- Roast Pumpkin – chop up some pumpkin into cubes. Sprinkle with cinnamon and chilli powder and bake in the oven for 30-40 mins or until cooked to your liking. You don’t even need to spray with oil …
- Roast Tomatoes – even the shrinking hubby (who professes to hate tomatoes) loves these! I am loving the mini roma tomatoes at the moment. Slice them in half lengthways and toss in some olive oil, sea salt and cracked pepper. We found a delicious basil infused olive oil which is great with the tomatoes. Bake skin side down in a 200 degree oven for about 40 minutes or until they are cooked to your liking…
- Nuts and/or seeds: Think sunflower seeds, pistachios, walnuts, pine nuts – although these are great dry roasted or tossed in a little bit of coconut oil, they are just as nice sprinkled over a salad straight from the container and add lots of nutrients, protein, good fats and yummy crunch to your salad. You can also buy seed mixes from grocers such as Harris farm or Thomas Dux for salads which are just as yummy …
- Olives – black or green add so much zest to a salad!
- Feta – those who have been following me for a while must have realised I have a serious feta fettish!! I just can’t get enough of the stuff although I (try to!) limit myself to just a little bit …
- Avocado – Avocados are just so brilliant – they provide so many essential nutrients, good fats, great for skin, hair, mood and taste so amazing. One of my favourite things!
And there are loads of options for dressings – try these – you may want to experiment with quantities as per your taste …
- This is my current favourite dressing (makes enough for about 4 salads): shake the following up in a jar: 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, juice of 1/2 a lemon, 1 teaspoon organic maple syrup, 1 teaspoon garlic, 1 tablespooon dijon mustard and some freshly ground cracked pepper.
- Other great mixes are olive oil with apple cider vinegar, olive oil and balsamic vinegar, olive oil and lemon juice.
- Try a dash of greek yoghurt with some pesto or a squeeze of lemon juice.
- Or another alternative is some tahini with some lemon juice, water, salt and pepper.
Tofu cooked up in coconut oil with olives, chick peas, avocado, broccoli, pistachios, walnuts and my dijon/maple syrup dressing
So – hopefully that is enough to get you excited about what to have for lunch! Feel free to comment below … and please if you have any suggestions of other great additions to salads please comment below or share on my facebook page www.facebook.com/theshrinkinghubby
For those of you who follow me on Facebook you might have seen the delicious dinner I whipped up on Monday night – baked barramundi on a bed of zucchini with cherry tomatoes on the vine, black olives and herbs. It was so easy to prepare – it only took about 5 minutes – but it was vibrant, colourful and very impressive. I was inspired by a recipe in Tessa Kiros’ beautiful cookbook ‘Limoncello and Linen Water’.
If you don’t like barramundi you could use an alternative white fish (think cod, snapper, flathead etc) or if you don’t like fish then it would be delicious with chicken! Next time I am going to try this with salmon …
I served it with blanched asparagus, but a mixed green salad would be just as delicious, and if you really can’t be bothered you can relax because the zucchini and the tomatoes mean that this dish really is a one-pot-wonder!
Baked Barramundi with Zucchini, Cherry Tomatoes, Black Olives and Herbs
This made enough for the 2 of us (we did have a lot of tomatoes) but if you wanted to double it for 4 people and again for 8 etc it would work just as well.
What you will need:
2 small zucchinis – thinly sliced lengthways and tossed with some sea salt and cracked black pepper
2 barramundi fillets (or fish of your choice, or chicken)
200 g (7 ounces) cherry tomatoes (on the vine). (This was actually a lot of tomatoes for 2 people – keep in mind if you are not mad on tomatoes ..)
1 heaped tablespoon chopped parsley
6 basil leaves – torn
1/2 cup of white wine or chicken stock. (I used stock here but I think that white wine would be even more delicious)
A couple of handful of black olives (I used the pitted kalamata olives from the deli at Woolworths – they were perfect!)
Zest & juice of one lemon
Sea salt and cracked black pepper
How to pull it together:
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius (350 degrees Fahrenheit).
In a baking dish (which I lined with baking paper), drizzle a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, and lay out the zucchini. Season the fish on both sides with a little salt and pepper andlay it over the zucchini. Top with the tomatoes and herbs. Pour the wine or stock around the fish and toss in the olives. Finish with the zest of the lemon and a squeeze of lemon juice.
Bake in the oven for about 40 minutes until the tomatoes are roasted to your liking and the fish is nice and brown.
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Wishing you all a wonderful week!
I discussed some healthy snack options for our kids (here) a few weeks ago, but I thought it would be helpful to talk about some food ideas for us too! If you want to lose weight the worst thing you can do is stop eating. Our bodies need to be constantly fuelled to keep our metabolism going. A healthy day of eating would ideally involve lemon water upon waking followed by a hearty breakfast, mid morning snack, lunch, mid afternoon snack and dinner. Don’t forget to keep drinking water – at least 2-3 litres a day – often your body mistakes thirst for hunger making you eat more …
I often get asked what Andrew and I eat so I thought I’d give you a brief overview. It seems like a lot of food but keep portion sizes small. Also keep in mind that we exercise almost every day so we need to replenish our bodies. It’s long but I thought it was important to get the full day in.
Starting your day with a big glass of filtered water with a squeeze of lemon in it is such a great way to flush out and detox your body. I must admit until I recently started drinking my lemon water I was sceptical. However I have definitely noticed higher energy levels since I have been doing this.
Breakfast is SO important. If you tell your body (by not eating when you wake up in the morning) that it needs to go into famine mode you will start the day feeling sluggish and tired as your metabolism slows right down leaving the path open for unhealthy food choices during the day as you try to eat some energy back. Much better to start with a hearty and healthy breakfast to get your energy levels going from the beginning of your day. You will feel satisfied which will make you less tempted to make unhealthy choices.
I’ve already given you some delicious suggestions for breakfast e.g. a toasted mountain bread wrap (see here), quinoa porridge (see here), or healthy pancakes (see here). Another great breakfast is an omelette (with 2 eggs plus 2 egg whites) or poached eggs with mushrooms, tomato, avocado and spinach.
You don’t have to make a big deal about breakfast though. A good quality muesli (preferably without dried fruit) topped with some greek yogurt and berries, or some rye or spelt toast with avocado, hummus or a healthy nut butter (check out your health food section in the supermarket) are also tasty and easy options.
Mid Morning and Mid afternoon Snacks
These snacks are great! Always try to incorporate protein in your snacks to help satisfy you for longer.
Here are my favourite snacks (note that they all contain some form of protein):
- 2 Brown rice cakes with avocado and cottage cheese or hummus and avocado. (choose the rice cakes that contain puffed brown rice only. NOT the flavoured ones that are full of artificial junk.
- A couple of hard boiled eggs.
- Some greek yoghurt and berries (fruit best consumed in the morning because of its sugar content)
- A good quality protein bar – I love the protein bars from 180 nutrition as they are made only from superfoods rather than artificial junk.
- Protein shake – again I try to avoid the protein powders that have chemicals in them. 180 nutrition has a great protein powder but I love the sunwarrior one – have 2 scoops of chocolate with a banana, a tablespoon of macca powder (another superfood) and water. (Sometimes I have this shake for breakfast)
- An apple and 10 almonds
- 100 grams of chicken or turkey breast or smoked salmon
- Carrot sticks and hummus
- A small tin of flavoured tuna (again make sure you choose the naturally flavoured ones – i.e. the chilli, lemon and cracked pepper and zesty vinegrette are all healthy options)
Here are some suggestions of things I like to eat for lunch:
- Chicken or tuna and salad
- Mountain bread wraps either my toasted chicken wrap (here) or tuna and salad
- My yummy chicken quinoa recipe (here)
- Tuna with ½ cup brown rice or quinoa and spinach, lemon and chilli
- Homemade soup
We try not to eat starchy carbohydrates for dinner most nights of the week – e.g. pasta, potatoes, rice etc. Once in a while we allow ourselves a treat such as my healthy lamb pizza (here) but most of the time dinner is protein and vegetables – think delicious marinades for your meat and big healthy salads, stir fries, soups, bakes. I have already shared some yummy dinners such as my spicy lamb mince (here), salmon with haloumi and lentil salad (here), and the delicious piri piri roast lamb (here). I have so many more yummy recipes to come – so stay tuned!!!
If you got through all of that – well done!!! Feel free to comment or ask any questions – I love hearing from you!
It’s hard enough to stick to a healthy eating regime when eating out at restaurants or at friends let alone when entertaining at home!
I love entertaining, and throughout our healthy eating journey Andrew and I have gathered lots of recipes and ideas for entertaining at home that are healthy,simple – yet really quite impressive and of course very yummy (remember I said that Andrew and I don’t like to suffer too much in the food department!!!).
A couple of weeks ago Judy Davie (The Food Coach) popped in for lunch. She hadn’t seen us since Andrew had his operation. I agonised over what to cook for our food mentor and decided on the recipe below. The salad comes from a good friend of mine Robyn who runs Mimis Kitchen. It is fabulously easy to make, goes beautifully with BBQ’d salmon (or chicken if you aren’t a fish person).
Most of the work is done in the oven (and by hubby on the BBQ) which leaves lots of time to chat to your guests rather than fussing about in the kitchen…
BBQ Salmon with Lentil, Haloumi and Green Spinach Salad
You will need …
4 pieces of Salmon. (I buy the Decosti’s Huon Salmon pre-packaged in the fish section of Woolworths for ease. I like skin on, but skin off is obviously fine too).
1 Bag English Spinach Leaves
150-200g Green Beans (topped and tailed)
1 Packet Haloumi (broken into bite sized pieces)
1 Tin Organic Lentils (drained and rinsed)
Sumac (optional but very tasty), paprika would also be nice …
Jar of good quality store bought pesto – better if found in the fridge section.
Shake juice of 1 lemon, a splash of olive oil (2-3 TB) and a dollop of Dijon mustard in a jar with salt and pepper.
Make a few cuts in the skin of the salmon, rub with olive oil, salt and pepper. Put aside until ready to bbq. (Andrew did these below – don’t they look great?!)
To make the salad, place beans and haloumi on a baking tray lined with baking paper, sprinkle with pepper and sumac (or paprika) – don’t forget haloumi is quite salty already. Bake in a medium oven for 15- 20 minutes or until the haloumi is deliciously golden.
When cooked, put the spinach in your salad bowl, scatter the lentils over the top and then finish of with the beans & haloumi. Drizzle with dressing.
Told you it was easy!
To BBQ the salmon, Andrew cooks it about 4 minutes each side (medium rare). Serve Salmon with a dollop of pesto, wedge of lemon and the salad – delicious and very healthy!!!
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