Treat Your Food Coma With a Do-It-Yourself Salad

Somewhere in the space between all-the-cake-making and all-the-cake-eating is me, drowning in a sea of sugar. In the moment, I’m 100 per cent loving every bite. ’Tis the season, right? But when I snap out of it, I’m so over cakes and craving all the vegetables and clean eats.

While I’ve never been one to turn down a salad (I usually proclaim it my favorite food, not kidding), my definition is a bit broader than the definition you would find in the dictionary. To me, a salad is any vegetable (hot or cold) combined in a bowl with other vegetables, dressed in a healthy sauce/flavoring, and enjoyed with zero guilt.

I typically take my salads one step further and make them into a meal. I’m all about one-bowl meals, especially with a busy schedule and 2-month-old. To make them a meal, you need to include not only vegetables but also some protein to keep you full and some healthy fat to keep you satisfied.

While I usually just throw open the refrigerator and cupboard doors and build with what I see, for many that seems like a scary idea that leaves you with a bowl of clashing flavours and colours. But the truth is your options are endless, and typically it all tastes good together. In my opinion, the more the merrier!

Choose one or more (definitely more in the veg department!) from each category below to create a healthy, satisfying meal.

And, of course, if you have a Tim Tam or two after the giant salad bowl, that’s okay, too.

Leafy green base (fresh or steamed/sauteed): Mesculin mix, arugula, spinach, kale, Swiss chard, bok choy, shredded Brussels sprouts

Raw, roasted, steamed vegetables (unlimited): Carrots, tomatoes, celery, onion, radish, cucumber, broccoli, peppers, beets, eggplant, asparagus, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, squash, zucchini, green beans, sprouts, fresh herbs (cilantro, parsley, basil)

Fruit (adds bright flavour and fibre): Apple, pear, orange, grapefruit, berries, pomegranate, dried fruit (watch portions)

Protein: Tofu, salmon, white fish, shrimp, chickpea, beans, lentils, tuna, edamame, egg

Grain or starch: Quinoa, brown rice, farro, sweet potato, soba noodle

Healthy fat: Avocado, seeds, nuts

Sauces and dressings (can count as part or all of your healthy fat): Nut butter (such as tahini with lemon and olive), oils (avocado, pumpkin, or olive), hummus, salsa, pesto, miso, liquid aminos, nutritional yeast, lemon, lime.

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