There are a lot of common lies we all tell ourselves. I can hit the snooze button again and still be on time, the boss will believe me if I call in sick the Monday after the Super Bowl, that warning light on the car is probably nothing… but the biggest of them all is salads.
I always hear people say they are on a diet and all they eat are salads. I have some bad news about that. Most salads, especially from the fast food joints and buffet lines, are calorie bombs loaded with sugar, unhealthy fats, chemical preservatives, and simple carbs. Some of the burgers these places offer actually have less calories than the so-called healthy salad options.
Looking at a popular chicken salad, it has 410 calories, 23 grams of fat, 30 grams of carbs, and a whopping 850mg of sodium. Homemade salads don’t fare much better because most store-bought dressings are loaded with suspect oils, preservatives, and of course, sugar. The fat-free dressings are the worst because fat equals flavor, and if they take out the fat, they add a ton of sugar to replace it. The serving size is also usually just a tablespoon or two, and I dare you to actually measure that out and see how disappointing that looks sitting on your salad.
I have several homemade dressings to make from scratch, but keeping with the quick and easy theme from last week, it is quite possible to make salads using store bought options that still fit the bill with natural and minimally processed ingredients. You just have to read the ingredients, educate yourself on what those ingredients are, and know which ones to stay away from to keep your salad from being a health imposter.
One of my favorite salads I eat about three times a week is a honey-mustard chicken and spinach salad. The main body of this salad is pre-cooked chicken strips from Perdue, dressing from Primal Kitchen, and organic pre-washed baby spinach leaves. The great news about those ingredients is they are all readily available at the local mega-marts, no need for a special trip to a health store to find those items. If you want to add the bacon I use, that might require a trip to Whole Foods, but the mega-marts are also starting to carry bacon without all the unnecessary oil and sugars added in them.
All these products pass the ingredients test for me, and make my life easier during the week when I need a quick lunch when all my weekend cooking is gone. Sliced red onion and diced avocado round out this salad, but if I happen to have a hard-boiled egg laying around, I’ll rough chop that bad boy and throw it in there as well. A tiny dusting of fresh grated Parmesan cheese also works really well. The baby spinach has a mild taste, but is hearty enough to make a very sturdy base, not to mention it’s a nutrition powerhouse on its own. The warm chicken and honey mustard dressing are a great pair with the spinach, and when you add the buttery goodness of the avocado with the crispy bacon, it’s the perfect combo of flavor and texture.
I’ll put this salad up against any meal on taste alone, but it’s a health juggernaut, perfectly balanced with protein, vitamins, complex carbs, fiber, and healthy fats. Give this a try and you will not be disappointed.
Honey-Mustard Spinach Chicken Salad
- 1 Tbsp Avocado oil
- Pre-washed organic baby spinach leaves
- Perdue Simply Smart organics chicken strips (100 grams)
- Primal Kitchen Honey-mustard dressing
- 2 strips cooked bacon
- Sliced red onion
- 1/2 diced avocado
- Optional: 1 hard boiled egg, grated Parmesan cheese
Line a plate with paper towels and nuke two slices of bacon until crisp, usually 2 – 3 minutes depending on your microwave:
Weigh out 100 grams of chicken strips using your kitchen scale. I like to slice the strips up into smaller strips but use your preference:
Slice some red onion into strips and dice 1/2 of an avocado:
Heat 1 tbsp of avocado oil in a skillet and cook the chicken until it starts to crisp and turn brown:
Tear a large amount of spinach leaves into pieces and place in a large bowl. Spinach is low in calories and you can use as much as you like.
Layer all the ingredients on top of the spinach:
Shake your dressing well in the bottle and pour 2 tbsp on the salad:
Stir and enjoy.
See the list of all the Shirtless Chef recipes at www.mysaline.com/shirtless.