Eat Like a Rabbit 🥕🥗🐰 {Building a Solid Salad}

in vegan •  18 days ago

Hey everyone! I hope you are all taking on 2019 with lots of great energy and solid goals planned out. I figured I'd start out the year with a post that may help some of you who are looking to put the holidays behind you with a bit of clean eating. I wrote up this article to share for a healthy holidays challenge at work, but thought some of you might enjoy a good salad, as well. Especially if you are joining in for Veganuary and need a little inspiration!

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I know, I know, salad is rabbit food, right? I was never much of a salad fan myself until I realized how to build a filling bowl that actually satisfied my nutritional needs AND my appetite. Ditch your thoughts of boring iceburg lettuce with sad cucumbers and dry shredded carrots. Let me open the doors to the many options to make your salads pack a punch!

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What’s the big deal with salads anyway? For starters, leafy greens are some of the healthiest foods on the planet. Dark leafy greens like kale, arugula, chard, spinach, and mustard greens are full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. They are also very low in calories, making greens an ideal food to fill up on without breaking the calorie bank. Salads also tend to be a great place to pack in other vegetables that are similarly high in nutrients and low in calories. Think of things like tomatoes, carrots, celery, broccoli, cucumbers, squash and all kinds of other great vegetables. Without even taking any of the bad stuff out of your daily dietary intake, just increasing your vegetable intake will improve your health. That’s why adding in a salad here and there to get more of those much-needed vegetables in can be so beneficial.
Of course if you only load your salads up with the lighter options, you are bound to be left feeling a bit hangry not too long afterwards, especially if you are getting in your @actifit steps or other activity. A lighter salad can be great to consume before your main meal if you want to ensure that high vegetable intake and crowd out room in your stomach for some of the higher calorie options, but if you want to use it as a full meal you need to add some key ingredients to make sure you are taking in enough calories to fuel your body and fill your belly.

Here are some of the basics to add in to your salads to ensure good health and a fully belly:

  • Lots of leafy greens: mix it up week to week to try different things and get different nutrients, the darker the better! If you are not a fan of the bitter greens like arugula and cress start out with a milder base like spinach or baby kale and add just a little bit of the others until you develop a taste for them.
  • Rainbow of fruits and veggies: not only do different colors have different nutrients (red for lycopene, yellow for vitamin C, orange for beta carotene…), but they also help make you feel more satisfied if you are eating from a beautiful canvas of color. Citrus or other plants high in vitamin C are especially good for salads as they not only add great flavor but the vitamin helps with the absorption of iron from the leafy greens.

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  • Plant-based protein: things like chickpeas, black beans, tempeh, tofu or lentils all add some solid amino acids and good calories to make a salad a meal versus a side.
  • Healthy fats: nuts, seeds, avocado, or even nut butters in a dressing all add some healthy fats which not only keep you satisfied but also help with the absorption of fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E & K). Just watch your quantity as traditional restaurant salads can serve up 2-3 times a normal portion size. That can especially add up if you are adding multiple options like nuts, avocado, and a creamy dressing.

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  • Small portion of starchy carbs: adding in a scoop of wild rice, quinoa or other whole grains or roasted sweet potatoes, beets, or winter squash can help bulk out a salad with high quality carbohydrates. These help add extra fiber and can help fill out the calorie count to make it a full meal versus a side or starter.
  • Flavor-packed dressing: it is actually really simple to make your own salad dressings, or you can go with my favorite option—hummus makes a fantastic “dressing” for salad! An easy vinaigrette might just be good balsamic, olive oil, a squeeze of lemon and some herbs. I love making a dressing with tahini, lemon juice, a fruity balsamic and a bit of miso. Again, you want high flavor but watch your portion. You want your dressing to taste excellent but not add a lot of empty calories that mask all of the good stuff you’ve piled in there.

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Another trick I like this time of year is to make a salad that can be served warm or at room temperature when I don’t feel like a cold meal. Roasted vegetables make a fantastic addition to a salad, and things greens like mustard and chard hold up well to a little bit of heat. Personally there’s something about a warm salad that just seems to satisfy me more than a cold salad, as well. Oftentimes the warmth brings out the flavors in the dressing and the greens even more than a cold presentation. If you have trouble getting down raw greens, wilting them down a bit may make them easier to chew and then digest.

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There really is no wrong combination as long as you are picking whole food, quality ingredients. You can go traditional and mix everything together, or if you enjoy a nice presentation then experiment with more of a Buddha bowl style. Play around a little bit and you might just be surprised at how filling and delicious a not-so-simple salad can be. Heartier ingredients can even hold up well to make a few bowls ahead of time to have healthy lunches all week! Putting your dressing on the side to add later can help keep the rest of the ingredients fresh.

While I know many of you may be motivated by those resolutions right now to eat anything green and healthy, unless you also make those meals taste good you'll fall off the wagon before you know it. However, if you find some rocking combinations that you really enjoy it will make it that much easier to eat healthy for a lifetime! If all else fails, just add greens to any of your regular meals and call it a day. I even put kale in my chili this week...😜🌿

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Proud to be a member! :)

Nothing like a solid salad to go with our solid goals for 2019! You put a lot of creativity in the meals, and I find that inspiring and valuable. I love food, and I love cooking for my beloved ones. To read your tips and recommendations is really helpful, as it would allow anyone to try them and even discover new combinations. Thank you for sharing and congrats on the Curie upvote.

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Oh my goodness, thank you so much! That is a high honor to be selected. I am so grateful for the support from the @curie community. I look forward to seeing the other awesome content creators that will be showcased!

Delicious! :)

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Thanks Babe! Should have taken some pictures of your yummy pizza. ;)

THSnks fif s great pot and lots of yummy addition ideas for our salads - i agree it’s hard to go wrong with healthy ingredients 💚❤️💛🌈

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Thanks @sallybeth23! I know right now it is especially good to help put out encouragement for folks trying to start out the year well! No time like the present to start whipping up some healthy salads. :)

Lord knows I love me some good salads! I also like the a warm salad from time to time. My favorite is adding some warm/hot jalapeño lime cauliflower-rice to baby greens, and topping it off with fresh guacamole. That’s been my go to for a month or so now 😋. Of course I can never pass up a salad complete with sweet potatoes, lentils or black beans, and green goddess dressing. Great way to start the new year @plantstoplanks. I can always count on you for foodspiration 😉

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Mmmm, guacamole.... I just put some riced cauliflower into a pasta sauce and then also oatmeal, but I'll have to remember to save some for a salad next time around. I have been missing my Mondays the past few weeks, so had to gear up with a practice run before the return this coming week. 😜

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I know, we get Monday veggie withdrawals. :). It’ll be nice to be back but it was also nice to take a holiday break. Cauli-rice is so versatile. I’ve read about the oatmeal cauli-rice, it sounds so interesting. See you on Monday my friend!


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Thanks as always for the share @c-squared!

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What a wonderful way to start out the new year! Humbled as always with a @curie nod. 🤗

As a weight loss coach, I really struggle with the concept of salad. Just the very word messes with people and they feel deprived. Add the vegan idea and my fat people have really lost their way. These look fantastic, but would be a big leap of faith for those I work with.

Even buying the ingredients is a stretch when you normally eat fast food. I'm talking to someone now who wants to know how to make cookies fit into a healthy lifestyle.

Big sigh, but I'm glad to see the other side in the midst of what else I go through :)

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I have a truly amazing client who is a well-respected local psychiatrist. He and I have had conversations before about how what we do is very similar in some ways, and that we both work in fields where a client sometimes needs to go through multiple practitioners before they find the right fit. It took me a while to realize that health and fitness can be a really personal thing, and that it is ok for me to not be the right fit for everyone. That's one of the reasons why I do really enjoy one-on-one work with clients--for the people I do work with, I get a chance to really impact their lives. I'm sure you get to enjoy many of the same successes with the people you work with.

Sounds like you have found your niche, which is totally awesome. There are people all along the journey with different paths to take. Hopefully all of us health coaches can do our part in our different areas to make the world a much healthier place overall!

On a side note, I actually feel less deprived as a vegan than when I first started in the fitness world and thought the only way to lose weight was to "restrict" calories or carbs. I can even fit "cookies" into my meal plan, though someone used to fast food and other highly processed food might not think they are that tasty, haha! 😜

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My starting point for most people is to get them to reduce 10% of the "bad stuff" and increase 10% of the nutrition. I get them to tell me what they think is "bad" and I help them with alternatives. I do no calorie counting at all - I try to get then to the RDA (or above) for various essential nutrients and then the calories pretty much take care of themselves.

Then keep going - change after change. When someone drinks 3 2-liter bottles of Mountain Dew each day, just getting them to reduce that is a stretch. Water? What's that?

If I can get them to reduce the chemical additives, that's when things start to go better.

Yup - 8 years after losing half my size and I am a cookie eater too. It's hard to make people understand that the new food will be more satisfying that the old, but when it "takes" it's wonderful.

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Thank you for sharing this with us @plantstoplanks! I love your ideas to create a delicious salad meal and I totally agree with you on your last paragraph that "unless you also make those meals taste good you'll fall off the wagon before you know it". One of my challenge is always the dressing. I love dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar, wafu sauce and sesame seed dressing and sometimes am afraid of going overboard. I guess it really is an experimental journey isn't it? :) I haven't tried tahini though. What does it taste like?

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Oooh, I do love a good mustard dressing, as well. Tahini is just the sesame seed version of peanut butter. ;) It is creamy and nutty, so it is a great way to create a slightly richer dressing for someone like me who doesn't use dairy. I use it often for dressings or in place of peanut butter for a different take on a peanut-sauce for stir fry. And of course it's always good for its most common use in homemade hummus!

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Ooo Tahini sounds yummyy. I love the japanese sesame seed dressings but it doesn't look healthy :P. I will go look for Tahini next time. Hummus is the other thing I would like to try too. I have read that it is a healthy spread. I am also trying to start planking :) Do you know of any good videos to teach the right technique to plank? How do I tell that I am planking right? Am afraid to get injured if I do it wrongly.

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I'm sure you could recreate that sesame dressing at home so you still get that delicious flavor but have a better idea of what you are putting in it to make it healthier! :) Hummus is so delicious--definitely one of my favorite things! You can keep it simple and traditional, or use any kind of bean or lentil to switch it up or add so many different herbs and spices to make it slightly different every time if you like variety.

I actually did a plank challenge a while back, so here is the link to the first day where I have a video and some tips for a basic plank: https://steemit.com/contest/@plantstoplanks/plank-challenge-week-1-day-1-basic-plank There are a lot of ways to modify when you are starting out if even doing a plank on the floor like the one I show is too hard. You can have your arms up on a bench or solid table to start out elevated to make it easier. Also just starting out with 10-20 seconds is a great way to ease into it. As long as you have a stable surface you shouldn't be at risk. It's a really great exercise if you do it correctly as it will work all of your core muscles and help them function in the way that they are supposed to to stabilize your spine and hips. Let me know if you have any other questions and I'll be happy to help!

Oh wow, that salad looks so fresh, healthy, and delicious! I wish my friend would make it for me, nom nom xD.
                   
Congratulations for your curie vote :).

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Thanks so much @scrawly! Always an honor to get the curie visit. Fun to find some new folks who stop by with it as well! :)

While i am not vegan, or any form of being a vegetarian, I have started a new lifestyle change in our eating habits here. We went full blown keto friendly and low carb eight days ago... we are feeling much better!

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It's always awesome to find a healthy lifestyle that works for you! Life's too short to not take care of yourself and enjoy living with energy and good health. Potatoes are my jam, so I could never do keto, haha! ;)

So many choices, thanks for sharing @plantstoplanks...
Now I can do some mix and match myself!

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Thanks for popping by @roselifecoach! Happy to share some of my favorite combos with you all. I always enjoy seeing what other people mix and match with the wonderful fruits and veggies they have available in all kinds of different parts of the world, so I try to do my best to spread the rainbow love from the Southern USA. :)

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Thank you for sharing!!

Beautiful salads @plantstoplanks! I would enjoy each one :) Happy New Year! I see you are off to a great start :) I too love putting kale and spinach in my soups, wonderful idea.

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Happy New Year to you, as well! Might as well keep the healthy ball rolling, right? That first salad picture was so good--we had that with homemade pizza on Friday night. The grapefruit was sent up from Florida by my aunt who lives down in Sarasota, so it was especially juicy and delicious! :)

I am totally inspired by your delicious and varied looking salads! I have been thinking about giving Buddha bowls a go and after seeing yours there's no excuse now..
The thing I struggle with is adding complementary dressings/toppings depending on the veggies. Any flavour combo tips?

A warm salad with roasted sweet potato sounds HEAVENLY right now :)

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Aww, thanks my friend! I'm glad I've gotten over my disdain of salads and fear of Buddha bowls because they really can be delicious and filling. I really loved a combination of roasted beets, pears, kohlrabi and lentils with a sunflower seed butter and fruity balsamic dressing that I have done a few times lately. @puravidaville was also talking about one she's been doing with spicy cauliflower rice topped with guacamole. Hummus is also a great Buddha bowl "dressing" since you can add whatever seasonings or flavors you like to jazz it up before you put it on. I just usually try to have something that really packs a flavor punch whether it is a good bit of citrus, a flavorful balsamic, or roasted veggies that have carmelized and gotten really tasty. I'm sure you'll find some good combos in no time! :)

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Thank you for the inspo - hummus as a topping sounds v appealing! I will have to work on some tasty combos, if they turn out any good I'll be sure to post them :)

Not only is it healthy it looks so good and motivates me to be sensible and have a healthy and light lunch today

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Happy to help inspire some good habits! Hope you had something that hit the spot! :)

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Yes indeed i went with a heallthy Salad with just a little olive oil dressing ;)

What an excellent article Katie and the food is not bad neither........just kidding! The food is outstanding, especially those little Buddha bowls. They look so cute and yummy. And congratulations to Curies upvote! Well deserved!

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Haha, thanks my friend! I'm gearing back up for our standing Monday date. ;) Looking forward to getting back to the routine and reconnecting with the crew! Hopefully we'll get some new takers this year!

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My pleasure Katie and I am looking forward to Monday as well. I really hope we get lots of entries as we used to 😍

That made me wonder how rabbits eat! But after seeing all your photos, I thought rabbits eat healthy and people do the opposite with fried food most of the time. 😃

Years ago, I tried strictly fruits and fibers during breakfast and dinner, and have a full meal of carbo only during lunch. I lost weight very fast, almost 10 pounds in 2 weeks. My housemates started to get worried if there was something wrong with me. 😃

Your recipes look so yummy. I guess I should go out and look for the ingredients and try some out... Thanks for sharing them here! 😊

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I was making a little play on the idea that most people joke about salads being rabbit food because it's just carrots and other veggies. 😉 I definitely don't mind eating like one when we can put together salads this delicious! I hope you track down some ingredients you enjoy to make your own yummy bowl!

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I usually get hungry easily if I go for fibers so I have to take something in between. And if the rat race at work kicks in, I don't have anymore time for breaks. But these are indeed very enticing. And yes, there will be no issue about eating like rabbit! 😊

I did not know that rabbits could eat so delicious. the pictures are very nice and the information is great. well done. thanks for sharing.

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Haha, well most rabbits might be quite content with simple salads, but I'm a fancy rabbit who likes some variety to her veggie-packed meals. ;)

They all look luscious...

Namaste, JaiChai

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Thanks so much @jaichai! I'm so grateful for the wonderful food I've been able to put together to share with you all!

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Aww, thanks for the "luv"! 💖🐞

Thank you for this post. It's very informative. You gave me some great ideas.

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Happy to share! I hope you make some yummy salads soon! :)

Thank you so much for this informative and beautifully written entry @plantstoplanks. Unfortunately, this year the #veganuarycontest has not had much interest, yours was the only entry 😞 So with sadness I will not be continuing with it throughout January. I will still post vegan related posts as always and I will send you a little something as a thank you for your continuing support! 💚

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Well that's a bit of a bummer, but we can still carry on the veganuary flag even without the contest! The cool thing is that the movement as a whole keeps picking up momentum year after year, so at least we can be happy with that. We can continue to support each other on here, as well. I always look forward to seeing what you share! :)

thanks for this Katie, I've now decided what I want for lunch =) A nice salad with a little bit of everything =)

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Sounds like the perfect idea to fuel that workout and your little bunny in the oven. 😉

These definitely look like some solid salads! Cheers

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Thanks so much! They all made me happy. :)

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Thanks so much! They all made me happy. :)

Your salads always look so colorful and delicious! I love the idea of a roasted veggie salad and that will be my dinner very soon!

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Thank you so much! I'm so glad you enjoy them. Roasted veggies are the best. :)

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I think so, too!

Yahoo! food photography was so nice. I'm one of the followers of yours in other crytoblog. I found you here in steemit.

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Oh cool, what other site did you find me on? I tend to be more active on here right now, so glad you found me here!