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Shedding the Winter Weight

By Chef Bethy

As we all know, when the weather gets warmer, we want to shave off those extra few pounds of winter weight. Adding salads in interesting ways can help you do just that! Raw, dark, leafy greens boost your fat-burning metabolism. Here are a few tricks to keep you palate pleased and your waistline happy.

For those of us on the run, you can finely chop your salad ingredients and put them into a wide-mouthed container. Don’t use dressing; use seeds to give extra nutrition and less empty calories. This way you can shake the salad into your mouth. Funny, but it works and you will just feel great about it.

You can turn the entire thing into a smoothie. I know, it sounds wacky! I often put a scoop of protein powder and water into a blender with a large handful of greens and some fresh cucumber and tomato. It is delicious, fast and easy.

  1. The main rule is all of the ingredients must be fresh and plenty of it. Don’t try to skimp on salads or the ingredients. Just skimp on the dressing.
  2. Keep a raw organic seed mix handy in your cupboard when you are looking for a quick and easy protein boost for your salad. Three tablespoons will do the trick and the nutty flavor is delightful. I use this in place of dressing. (Ingredients: 1 cup organic raw sunflower seeds, 1 cup organic raw hemp seeds, 1 cup organic raw pumpkin seeds.)
  3. Pickled items satisfy your craving for flavor and salt. Both are important in maintaining a balanced diet. Olives can be included. This is a standard practice in macrobiotic eating.
  4. Try to always have a nice balance of protein and carbohydrate with each salad. Many times we forget to add that little bit of carbohydrate, which makes all the difference in making you feel satiated at the end of your meal. I hate starving after a meal!
  5. Add a little bit of something sweet to your salad. Green grapes, sliced apple, sliced pear, pomegranate seeds, and dried cranberries are all good suggestions.
  6. Hot foods added to a cold salad can be just what the doctor ordered. I like warm steak or chicken with the pan juices poured over the greens until they are just wilted. It’s so yummy!
  7. Don’t forget about the old standbys of tuna salad and egg salad. They are amazing on top a bed of greens.
  8. Mix up your greens. Don’t get in a rut only using mixed greens. Kale is wonderful and so are fresh chards. Herbs such as parsley, cilantro and mint are very nice additions. From time to time you can add iceberg lettuce and Romaine to the mix as well.
  9. A fresh salad is an appealing salad. Prep your greens when you get home from the store. That means run a sink full of water and rinse the leaves well. Put them through a salad spinner and store in a tight Zip-Lock bag. I like to do this to bagged greens too because they stay a lot fresher tasting for a longer period of time.
  10. If you are packing your salad for the next day, make sure to bring the dressing in a separate container. If you dress it early it will become soggy. Also bring other wet ingredients like pickles in separate little containers for the same reason.

Here are some more ideas for adding interesting and tasty ingredients to your salad.

PROTEINS: Your aim is to get three to four ounces of protein per salad unless otherwise stated. More than that and you may have a harder time digesting the meal.

 

Organic raw seeds

Tinned sardines with a spoonful of Dijon mustard

Any leftover fish from last night’s dinner

Fried egg

Hard-boiled egg

Tuna salad

Egg salad

Shrimp salad

Cheddar cheese (1-2 oz.)

Pan-fried tofu with a little soy sauce

 

PICKLED:

Dill pickle spears

Black oil cured olives

Anchovies

Capers

Pickled spicy green beans

Homemade pickled cucumbers

 

CARBS - Your aim is to get about half-cup portions. Remember, if you go too heavy on the carbohydrates, you may start your food-craving engine.

 

Polenta: cold from the fridge is excellent

Fresh corn off the cob

Gluten-free toast/bread

Seasoned brown rice

Cooked leftover quinoa

 

 

Chef Bethy is at 12th Street Catering in Philadelphia. This article is part of her personal journey with weight loss.“To date I have lost seventy pounds by NOT dieting and eating really well. I am healthier then I have ever been.”

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