With plenty of fresh, seasonal vegetables and delicious seasonal fruits, the warmer months are the perfect time to switch up your diet for something lighter and give your health a boost with seasonal produce bursting with flavour and nutrients.
Dalton Wong, trainer to Hollywood star Jennifer Lawrence, founder of TwentyTwo Training, and co-author of The Feel Good Plan, lists his tips on how to enjoy the freshest seasonal ingredients in a nutritious and delicious salad.
1 Layer your leaves
Spinach, watercress, rocket, chicory, lamb’s lettuce or pea shoots, the darker your greens, the better, with their many health benefits including glowing skin, weight loss, and even a reduced risk of chronic diseases such as cancer. Packed with magnesium, leafy greens can also help you sleep better, while adding peppery leafy green rocket will provide you with a good source of folates which helps even out mood swings.
2 Pick your protein
Protein will help you to feel fuller for longer and stop you reaching for sugary afternoon snacks, as well as providing your body with nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids from oily fish and essential amino acids from eggs.
Eggs, chicken, turkey and prawn are all lean options whereas salmon, tuna and ham have more fat. Beef and lamb are harder to digest, so eat with grilled vegetables.
3 Add some good fats
Choose one or two healthy fats like olives, avocados, cheese and nuts. As well as their health benefits they also taste great and will help make your salad more satisfying.
4 Load complex carbs
Quinoa, brown rice, chickpeas, kidney beans or lentils all contain filling fibre which will give you last-the-afternoon energy and keep your digestive system happy and healthy.
5 Add flavour with fresh herbs
The more flavoursome your food, the more you’ll appreciate it.
Herbs such as basil, coriander, parsley and mint make a simple salad sing and enhance flavours just as effectively as salt, something most of us eat too much of.
6 Top up with texture
Cornichons or pickles, kimchi, alfafa sprouts, and roasted chickpeas add crunch, as do nuts and seeds such as pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, and walnuts. All are packed with essential vitamins and minerals to help power the rest of your day.
7 Chop a rainbow
The more colours you eat, the more nutrients you get, so add a variety of different vegetables for maximum health benefits. And as nutrient-packed vegetables are so nourishing, you can end up consuming 350 fewer calories in the day.
8 Dress up
To finish your salad and add one last boost of health and flavour, add a dressing of one part lemon juice, one part vinegar and three parts healthy fats such as extra virgin olive oil.