Top 6 Ingredients for a Satisfying Salad

Perfect Salad Top 6 Ingredients for a Satisfying Salad

1. The base: a few cups of organic greens.

2. Add some color.  A rainbow of fresh fruits and veggies is THE BEST. Don’t be afraid of combining flavors, they usually blend together well (if it sounds like a good combo to you, do it.) I have been known to mix together whatever fruits and veggies are in my fridge. Hey, it’s a great way to use leftovers!

3. Pick your low-cal protein. Shrimp, wild salmon, seitan*, chopped veggie burger, flavored tofu…the possibilities are endless!

4. Make it Fiber-licious. Although fiber doesn’t sound so tasty, it is! Plus, it makes your salad stick with you longer.  Flaxseeds, slivered almonds, black beans and lentils are a few easy ways to add filling fiber to your salad.

5. Choose your fun factor. This is where you think outside of your normal salad fixings. Pick something at the store that you don’t eat very often or just sounds intriguing. Somehow, it just makes the idea of a salad so much more interesting. I love to add things like dried fruit, low-fat feta cheese, hearts of palm, “bacon” bits, pomegranate seeds, pumpkin seeds, toasted pine nuts, artichoke hearts, and all kinds of other things!

6. Dress it up! There are more low-calorie/light dressings on the market right now than ever before. Annie’s Naturals makes THE best (in my opinion) line of light salad dressings, with flavors like honey mustard, mango, and ginger vinaigrette.  Sometimes, keeping it simple with some balsamic vinegar and/or lemon juice is the way to go. Or, you could sprinkle a bit of hot sauce on the salad if you want some kick. (That inspiration is courtesy of my husband, who puts hot sauce on everything.)

REMINDER: Salads can become high-calorie nightmares if you’re not paying attention. The dressing can be a thousand calories in itself! Having a base of lower calorie, flavorful ingredients mixed with some protein and fiber to keep you full is the perfect combo.

*The salad shown in the photo is  mixture of organic greens, mushrooms, red bell pepper, cucumber, flaxseeds and orange seitan. I served it with mango vinaigrette.

Top 6 Flat Stomach Tips

1. Eat Yogurt. Seem simple? It is. The bacteria in yogurt is good for your digestive system, which means less bloating. I love plain organic Greek yogurt (I even use it as a substitute for sour cream) but the flavored stuff is good, too. Just watch out for yogurt with added sugars, which will NOT help to flatten your stomach.

2. Stay Hydrated. I know you’ve heard this before, but it is SO important. Water helps to get rid of excess salt and toxins (which cause bloating). I go by the rule of drinking at least ½ oz. of water for every pound that you weigh. Divide your weight in half and that’s how many ounces you should drink per day.

3.  Cut Back On: Salty foods, fried foods, carbonated drinks, alcohol and sugar.

4. Don’t Forget Your Fiber. Dark leafy greens, seeds, nuts, bran, quinoa and berries are a few examples of foods that contain a good amount of insoluble fiber. (For more on different types of fiber, check out my FREE e-book, The 6 Step Diet.) Fiber helps keep your digestive system running efficiently and getting rid of what you don’t need.

5. Un-Supersize Your Portions.  Your digestive system hates it when you shovel a bunch of food into your mouth at once. Its’ revenge? To make you feel fat and bloated while it works overtime to break down your feast.  Just pay attention to your body’s ‘full signals’ and eat sensible portions – your stomach will feel flat more consistently.

6.  Exercise! The real key to a flat stomach is overall fat loss. You can’t see your abs if they are covered by fat – it’s just impossible. Aerobic exercise paired with core-focused training is a great combo. This helps you lose fat while defining muscles in the right places. My personal strategy is a mix of pilates, cardio (the elliptical machine, hiking, biking, etc.) and occasional crunches.

Top 6 Healthy Low-Calorie Beverages

1. Green Tea- (Zero Calories) I drink green tea every day, I love it that much. There are lots of types and brands of green tea, and it somewhat comes down to personal taste. It’s super good for you. Green tea’s reported health benefits come from the catechins (aka antioxidants) found in the tea. These antioxidants do not absorb easily into your body, but new studies are showing that adding lemon juice to the tea prevents them from getting flushed out as quickly. My favorite brand is Yogi Organic, and I love their Super Antioxidant and Pomegranate varieties…I always add bit of lemon juice!

2. Water/Sparkling Water- (Zero Calories) Water is obviously the best low-calorie beverage (with a squeeze of fruit juice, yum!), but sparkling water is a nice change. I buy pomegranate and orange flavors, but recently I invested in a Sodastream system so that I can just make sparkling water at home and add my own organic fruit juices to it.

3. Coconut Water- (Avg. 50 Calories/8 oz.) High in potassium (an electrolyte that aids healthy muscle function) coconut water is sometimes dubbed “nature’s energy drink” or a natural replacement for icky Gatorade. It tastes wonderful and there are lots of brands (Zico, VitaCoco, O.N.E.) that have added fun flavors to keep things interesting. Vitacoco with pineapple tastes wonderfully tropical!

4. Synergy/Organic Raw Kombucha – (Avg. 60 Calories/16 oz. bottle) A cultured probiotic beverage, the initial (somewhat vinegar-y) taste can be a little surprising. I think it’s really good…I’m personally addicted to Guava Goddess, Trilogy, and Strawberry Serenity. Kenny (my husband) LOVES the Gingerade.

5. Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar Drink – (Avg. 40 Calories/16 oz. bottle) I absolutely love the Concord Grape-Acai flavor!

6. Zevia – (Zero Calories) A great-tasting soda substitute, I love the root beer and “twist” flavors. Normal diet sodas have those awful fake sweeteners, and these are flavored with Stevia which is a huge improvement!