Superfood Salads for Summer
With the warm weather upon us we can enjoy all the benefits of raw food every day, salads are a great way to include lots of raw foods into your diet. There are endless combinations of interesting ingredients to choose from to mix things up and create interest, the more you add the healthier it can get – the only limit is your imagination.
Make sure your salad contains protein and fat, otherwise you risk hunger later, and get creative by adding superfoods to really boost the nutritional content of the dish – think brightly coloured fruit and veg, nuts and seeds, probiotics and healthy oils.
Here we share our top ten tips for creating amazing summer salads:
- To increase satiety (feeling of fullness) make sure you have included protein and essential fats: walnuts, pine nuts, pumpkin and sunflower seeds make great salad toppers, giving texture and nutritional density, while home-made hummus can be served on the side.
- A simple yogurt dip like tzatziki (natural yogurt, grated cucumber and lemon juice) can be used in abundance instead of mayonnaise to boost the overall protein content as well as providing probiotic bacteria.
- If you need a more filling meal for the evening then an additional protein source like boiled egg, lean chicken, cooked beans or feta cheese can be added.
- Use generous amounts of healthy oils in your dressing – flaxseed or olive oil mixed with a little lemon or vinegar are perfect to provide healthy unsaturated fats.
- For texture, variety and colour use chunks of lightly steamed sweet potato or beetroot, which also provide a nutritional boost, with luxury amounts of vitamins.
- Raw grated vegetables can be easier to chew and digest than large chunks – try grating or spiralising courgettes, beetroot, and fennel for an added ‘twist’.
- Consider fermenting your own veggies to go on the side instead of using commercial chutney or pickles. Fermented veg contain high levels of beneficial bacteria which aid the immune system and digestion, and if you layer them by colour they also look great in glass jars in the kitchen!
- For sweetness and new flavour combinations, try a few blueberries or chopped apricots sprinkled onto your salad (avoid dried fruits as they usually contain sulphites and have a very concentrated level of sugar). These super-fruits also contain high levels of antioxidants to protect the cells from damage.
- Veggies that we might normally cook at other times of year like broccoli and courgettes can be thinly sliced and eaten raw, giving you the benefit of natural enzymes which are usually destroyed during cooking.
- Freshly chopped herbs are packed with nutrients and can really put a spring into your summer salad! Try some familiar combinations like tomatoes with basil, yogurt and mint or carrot and coriander, then experiment with your own!
To learn more about the nutritional benefits of different foods, why not enrol on a course in Nutrition?