There are a few things that I just know I need each day to feel really good. Sleep is priority number 1. If I don’t get enough sleep (7-9 hours) nothing feels right the next day. Water is another vital pillar to feeling my best, with the goal for myself being about 70-80 ounces each day (that goal is two of my 40 ounce hydroflask ). The next non-negotiable wellness pillar in my life is the importance of hitting my daily veggie goal by incorporating a daily smoothie and salad.
I aim to eat a very plant centered diet. For 4 years I didn’t eat meat and having plants be the foundation of the way that we eat has always given me lots of energy, tons of vitamins + minerals, boosts anti inflammatory benefits and I love the various colors that my plates have when they are 80-90% plant based. Now that I am eating meat, again, I still aim to have my meals be full of plants. Plants are the most important part of the way that our family eats.
The current USDA recommendation is 5-9 servings of fruits and veggies a day. My recommendation and goal is to hit the high end and go for at least 9 a day. While that number sounds reasonable, achieving it was hard for me each day until I prioritized making a smoothie and salad each day.
It’s a loose plan that I follow when we are at home and even on the road I try to get one big salad each day. So many people that I speak to tell me that they never stay full off a salad or a smoothie and they are starving an hour or two later.
The key in staying full and satisfied is in how you make them and in my opinion, how you eat them (eat nice and slow, chew your food- like really, really chew your food!)
My salads and smoothies are big. I love to eat bountiful, voluminous meals. A couple of years ago, I started to make my meals bigger because I was always hungry between them and reaching for snacks. I learned through trying different things that body needs bigger meals to feel satisfied over longer periods of time.
However, your body may be different and you may feel your best eating a few small meals every couple hours. We are all different and no two body’s thrive eating the exact same way. I remember being in my health coach training program at Institute for Integrative Nutrition and there was a quote that stuck with me: One person’s food can be another person’s poison. There is beauty in knowing that as humans we are not meant to all eat the same.
Sharing my personal eating philosophy is not meant to cause confusion or make you think that you should do as I do. I like to share what works for me in a loose, take it or leave it way. Nutrition information is overwhelming and every day there is a new or trendy way of eating being shared. In my life, and in supporting the client’s that I work with, we aim to simplify.
Eating should be joyful and enhance your life.
My food philosophy: Fill your plate, cup and bowl with as many of nature’s colors as possible!
Put lots of good stuff in as often as you can and sprinkle in the FUN foods, too.
You can find tons of smoothie recipes on the blog and in the ebooks located under the shop tab. I am also working hard to bring recipes from instagram over here for easy access. I love to start my day with a smoothie because it is a delicious way to sip or spoon my veggies. I look forward to those icy bowls each day and most of my smoothies have about 3-4 cups of veggies if you add up the frozen zucchini and spinach that most contain. That is a great start by breakfast!
The rest of today’s post will be dedicated to my beloved daily salad and how I build them out.
Having a blend of different greens is key to keeping salads fun and interesting. Some greens also last longer than others and as someone who hits the store once a week knowing how to stretch your produce is so helpful. My favorite greens are romaine, spinach, arugula and kale. I wrote these in the order that I use them, too. Romaine goes first, then spinach, arugula and kale always lasts the longest. Some days I use just one type of green (like in a warm salad I tend to only use kale because of the way it holds up to heat) and others days I will mix one or two together. Usually, my salad base is about 4 generous cups of greens. I love lettuce and having a big bowl of greens so so good for you.
Cooked and Raw Vegetables
Again, I am a fan of using both cooked and raw vegetables in my salads as our body gets benefits from both. Each week we tend to grill off a giant basket of veggies, roast up a pan of broccoli and cauliflower and always have a root vegetable roasted up, too. I eat them cold from the refrigerator in the warmer months and will often heat them up in a cake pan in the oven before serving my salad in the colder months.
My favorite root veggie combo recently has been a blend of sweet potato, butternut squash and carrots. Those three together are gorgeous, orange and magical!
For raw veggies I love baby tomatoes, cucumber, carrots and mushrooms. I usually add about 1.5-2 cups of veggies to my salads. So, all together we have about 6 servings of veggies in each daily salad. Not too shabby when the daily goal is 9! And, if you start your day with a smoothie and get that extra 3-4 servings you HIT the goal after lunch. All the other extra veggies you may have for dinner would just be the icing on the cake. Extra credit veggies 😉
Because I am such a fan of having things prepped and ready for my daily salads, my go-to protein is this Recipe: Instant Pot Pulled BBQ Chicken . I will also roast salmon, make tuna salad (always with Safe Catch brand), burgers (these were amazing: 2-Ingredient Pesto Turkey Burgers, hard boiled eggs or any other leftover we have. Meatballs on a salad, yep. I’ve done that and it was fabulous! There is no wrong way to create a salad. Just make sure you have enough protein to keep you full. This may take a few tries and will likely vary based on activity level, hormones, timing between meals, etc. I usually get about 4-6 ounces per salad of protein. Some days more, others a little less.
Fats and Dressing
The last component to my daily salad are the fatty additions and dressing. Lately, I have been loving chunks of avocado, organic goat cheese, salty sunflower seeds and homemade Superfood, Nut, Seed and Fruit Granola, All of these are so yummy and add delicious flavor to my salads. Again, amounts vary based on my hunger levels. Sometimes a sprinkle of sunflower seeds will do. Other days I need half an avocado and goat cheese on the top. No two salads are identical. However, my dressing of choice has been fairly consistent. I use two things on my salad: drippy tahini and Fig Balsamic vinegar. Those two together create that acid and creamy combo that pulls every delicious flavor out of these salads.
Choose your greens, prep a couple pans of veggies and a great protein. Assemble. Dress. Repeat.
Also, reach out to me if you have any questions. Salads can be such a fun and creative way to use what you have while getting those servings of veggies that serve your body in all the right ways. I hope that this post helped you understand why I love to have a smoothie and a salad each day. This body of mine is literally made up of veggies and knowing how to put together a satisfying smoothie and salad can make you want to repeat this loose structure a couple days a week, too!
Enjoy creating and happy eating! More posts to come on identifying and prioritizing wellness pillars- this is a topic that is very near and dear to my health coach heart.