If your new year’s resolutions are but a distant memory, I’ve got some good news. March kicks off National Nutrition Month making it the perfect time to pick up those missing healthy habits you wanted for a healthier 2016.
I totally “get” why our January intentions leave us behind about as quickly as the holiday decor is packed away. It’s easy during holiday vacations to find the time for healthier meals or to head to the gym. But time gets tough when work is calling, schedules are tight and life is simply too busy to make a health a priority.
This whole reality is exactly why I love quick and hearty salads and wraps like the ones I’m sharing today. If breakfast is the most important meal of the day, lunch is the glue that binds a healthy day together. Skip it and you’re sure to be reaching for a less than healthy pick me up in the afternoon or worse, find yourself so hungry at dinner that you can’t seem to find the bottom of your bowl.
But let’s be honest. Salads for lunch sounds skimpy and seem a bit boring. That’s why I focus on these three key strategies to make the most of a lighter, but filling lunch:
- Fill up with fiber — Whether your salad is grain, greens or even meat based, fiber is the key to filling you up, not out. Be sure to include whole grains, nuts, seeds and fresh fruits, like the California Strawberries I’ve added to today’s recipe. They’re the perfect salad choice because they’re easy to prepare, available year-round and deliver exceptional nutrition and health benefits. I’ve also added pumpkin seeds to today’s recipe to boost fiber and add crunch.
- Make it sweet and savory — By far one of the most important keys to keeping salads out of the “boring” category is to pair up sweet foods with savory, like I’ve done in today’s wraps. Combining the savory flavor of feta cheese with the natural sweetness of California strawberries takes chicken salad to a whole new level. The good news is that by the choosing natural sweetness of California strawberries, you can keep the calories low. In fact, one serving of eight medium strawberries is only 45 calories.
- Add herbs and spices for interest — The most memorable salads (you know, the ones you think “I want to eat that again tomorrow for lunch!”) are the ones that have multiple layers of flavor and texture. One of the simplest ways to add more taste is by using fresh or dried herbs and spices. I recommend fresh herbs for green salads and dried herbs or spices for grain or meat based salads. Think beyond your basic basil and grab flavors like dill, cumin, thyme and rosemary.
You may not be able to revive every healthy resolution you made just a few months ago. But with tasty recipes like these, eating healthy in 2016 is back on the plate!
Strawberry Balsamic Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps
2 cups of diced, cooled, cooked chicken breast
1 cup quartered California Strawberries
1/2 cup (2 ounces) feta cheese
2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon dried dill
1/4 teaspoon salt
Large leaf lettuce or kale
Additional toppings: pumpkin seeds and feta cheese
- In a medium-size bowl; combine all ingredients (except lettuce leaves); toss well to combine.
- Scoop onto leaf lettuce, add additional toppings as desired and serve.