If you see sunny skies and immediately start craving more fresh produce, you’re not alone. Those bright, fresh ingredients just pair so well with warmer weather! But, if you’ve been noshing on heavier fare all winter, it can be a little daunting to suddenly switch to a salad as your main course, especially if you’re also upping your activity level (because who can resist getting outside and playing once the snow is gone, right?).
With that in mind, we nabbed the following tips from Guiding Stars’ Allison Stowell, MS, RD, CDN. She says, “Active individuals expect a lot from their day, and their diet and nutrition choices should reflect this. There are many healthful foods to choose from to fuel and active body, and well-made springtime salads are no exception.”
Here are a few things she recommends you keep in mind:
- If a salad is your meal and you need to be fueled for a long day (maybe a busy afternoon and workout before returning home for dinner), the salad has to offer satiety, which comes from a balanced combination of fiber along with protein and/or fat.
- Protein: Including protein in your post-workout meal will reduce soreness and aid in enhancing muscle repair. Look for salads that include seafood, chicken, lean meat, beans, tofu and protein-rich grains.
- Fats fill you up. Salads and exercise sound like the perfect combination for a healthful lifestyle, but unless that salad offers some heart-healthy fat from vegetable/olive oils, nuts, seeds, avocado or other “good-for-you” fats, then it may actually leave you needing a snack sooner than you expect.
- Don’t be afraid of complex, beneficial carbs that offer whole grain, protein, and satisfying fiber such as brown rice, beans/lentils and nourishing ancient grains like millet and quinoa.
What are your fave proteins and fats to add to a salad? I love black beans and avocado almost more than life itself. —Kristen