Tuesday, December 31, 2013

#HolidayDetox Part 1- Build a better salad for the win!

As part of my holiday detox series I aim to give you the tools you need to make 2014 the year you really eat healthy. Let's not start this year saying we are going on a diet or need to lose weight, this can make you feel bad about yourself. Instead empower yourself and say this is the year I learn to enjoy eating healthier. To find a balance of healthy eating and enjoying every minute. 

This has been my mission for NY Foodgasm from the beginning. To bring you healthy food that is fun and you can really enjoy thereby empowering everyone to become healthier and happier. I have lost 73 pounds the old fashioned way. Healthier eating habits and exercise. It's through that struggled I realized my passion and that is making a healthy lifestyle fun- because life should be fun! I can get all weepy with you about this struggle, it is still a struggle everyday. I love food second only to my husband, lol! But I found a way to lose weight and eat healthy that still keeps my passion for food alive and I want to share this with you! 

When everyone decides to eat healthier we all reach for a salad. Not all salads are created equal. There are two mistakes people usually make 1- making salads with more calories and fat than a cheeseburger combo meal or 2- making a salad so plain and boring and not at all filling.  Totally from one extreme to another. See the Guide below for tips for an awesome salad!

As part of my mission I have teamed up with my FAVORITE healthy food blogger Jennifer from Peanut Butter and Peppers! See her salads at the bottom with links!

TIP: Be prepared! A lesson I have learned from a lot of my weight loss struggle is to learn to think ahead and prepare meals or components of meals in advance. For me I chop up all my fruits and veggies I will be eating for lunch though the week on Sunday. This is for two reasons: I have little time Monday-Friday during the work week and if I do not have something healthy prepared I will gravitate to something unhealthy in a moment of "hangery" weakness. You know, then you are sooo hungry you are angry?! So save yourself the heart ache and get this right from the start!

Cranberry Pecan Goat Cheese Salad

 Why is this a Foodgasm?

This salad is a perfect transition from the holidays to your new year. Why? It retains a lot of the great flavors from the season with cranberries and pecans, while helping you wean slowly off your sugar addiction since the dried cranberries and sweetened and the goat cheese adds a bit of sweetness too, even the fig Balsamic drizzle is sweet. Then there are so many different textures, creamy, crunchy, soft etc. Then you got those gorgeous colors, this is totally me- shades of purple and shades of magenta! LOVE it!

What you need

1 1/2 cups spring mix
1/2 cup arugula
1/3 cup finely sliced red cabbage
4 tablespoons pecan pieces
2 tablespoons crumbled goat cheese
3 tablespoons dried cranberries
A few thin slices of red onion
A drizzle of Fig Balsamic Glaze (I used Sophia Brand, if you cannot find this you can use a regular balsamic glaze, but this one adds sweetness.)
1 teaspoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil drizzles over the top.

How to make it

Add all ingredients to a bowl or lunch container, then drizzle with the Fig Balsamic Glaze and Extra Virgin Olive Oil.


Spanakopita Salad- Aka Spinach Pie Salad with Lemon Oregano Dressing

Why is this a Foodgasm?

I think you all know by now I am half Greek and one of my favorite comfort foods was Spanakopita aka Spinach Pie. Basically it is filo dough buttered in layers with spinach, feta and rice inside. It is one of those meals that makes me feel happy and safe. So I decided to make it into a salad. So I used fresh spinach and I cut it into strips so it would mix well with some cooked orzo that I added. Of course I topped it with feta, red onions for color and I also added some fresh lemon zest over the top of it. I made a really nice lemon oregano dressing to go with it too, sooo bright and tasty!

What you need

2 cups of fresh baby spinach, sliced into strips
1/3 cup cooked orzo
A few slices of red onion
1/4 cup feta cheese (I like Athenos the most)
2 tablespoons Lemon Oregano Dressing

Juice of 1 large lemon
7 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tablespoon Oregano (fresh if you got it)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Pulse in food processor, put in squeeze bottle for use.

How to make it

Add all ingredients to a bowl or lunch container, then drizzle with the Lemon Oregano Dressing.

Simple Arugula Shaved Parmesan Salad with Lemon and Pepper 


Why is this a Foodgasm?

Sometimes simplicity is best, especially when the flavors are well balanced. In this case, the pepperiness of the arugula along with the salty of the parmesan and the acidity of the lemon make this a beautifully balanced and simple salad! I would call this more of a side salad since there is very little protein. If you want to make it a meal, add some grilled chicken- done!

What you need

2 cups arugula
.5 oz shaved Parmesan cheese
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground pepper (makes it MUCH better if it's freshly ground)

How to make it

Add all ingredients to a bowl or lunch container, then drizzle with the Lemon Juice and Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Peanut Butter and Pepper's Salads!

Go to her post HERE to see these salads pictured and more!! She even has more ideas on how to build a better salad!

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