My husband and I are heading to a fun summer concert tonight and I’m packing a picnic! I’m preparing a couple of salads and yummy black bean enchiladas. All of these recipes will be posted in the next three days. (One at a time folks!) I’m excited to share these with you. They work great for outdoor dining, they pack well and look so beautiful all together.
I love the combination of dark green leafies with the red grapes. And who doesn’t love sunflower seeds? Together this salad packs some superpower antioxidant benefits. You’re going to feel like superman when you get done eating this one.
This salad is an illustration of Clean Eating, a popular style of eating which focuses on whole, natural, minimal. I am not a strict adherent, but value greatly the need for less processed foods in our diet. I really like the following six principles of Clean Eating from Diane Welland MS, RD, author of The Complete Idiots Guide to Eating Clean, 2009). Wise wisdom we all need to follow!
1. Choose whole, natural foods and seek to eliminate or minimize processed foods. Processed foods are anything in a box, bag, can, or package, and although there are always a few exceptions to the rule (like a bag of fresh green beans), the majority of your foods should be fresh.
2. Choose unrefined over refined foods. While it may not be possible all the times, you can up your intake of whole grains like brown rice, millet, amaranth, and quinoa. Beans and legumes are also important. Clean sugars include honey, maple syrup, and dehydrated sugar cane juice.
3. Include some protein, carbohydrate and fat at every meal. Most of us typically do well with carbohydrates and fat, but we often lack protein, especially in the early part of the day, like at breakfast and lunch. Protein is an important muscle-builder, and it can also help curb your appetite. When eaten throughout the day, it keeps us feeling full longer. Use healthy oils such as olive oil, canola oil, avocado, nuts, seeds, nut butters.
4. Watch out for fat, salt, and sugar. This is easier than you think, particularly if you’ve cut out processed foods, which are responsible for most of our excess calories and high levels of fat, sugar, and salt. Clean foods are usually naturally low in all of these ingredients.
5. Don’t drink your calories. High calorie drinks like specialty coffees and soft drinks, on average, tack on an extra 400 to 500 calories a day. Choose water first, or my personal favorite, unsweetened tea (any flavor). Other clean drinks: low-fat, skim or almond milk and 100 percent fruit juice diluted with sparkling water.
6. Get moving. Regular physical activity is a must for many reasons. Not only does it decrease fat, strengthen and build muscle, and help you burn more energy at rest, it keeps your heart, lungs, and bones healthy and strong.
- Mixed Greens, Grape and Sunflower Seed Salad
- 3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp stone-ground mustard
- 2 tsp olive or grapeseed oil
- 6 cups loosely packed mixed greens, like a spring mix
- 2 cups red grapes, halved
- 2 Tbsp toasted sunflower seed kernels
- 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- Combine vinegar, honey, syrup, and mustard in a small bowl. Gradually add oil, stirring with a whisk.
- Combine mixed greens, grapes, seeds, and thyme in a large bowl. Drizzle vinegar mixture over the greens; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss gently to coat.