Salads are part of our South African culture, and can be an easy go-to meal for those of us trying to watch our weight, as well as those trying to try prevent their weight from dropping too low. The secret is in making you make your salad the right way. – BY CHRISTINE PETERS, REGISTERED DIETICIAN
Most athletes tend to be fairly health-conscious and thus eat quite healthily, including salads in their weekly meal plans, but how do we make them suitable to our own nutritional requirements as athletes while also meeting our taste requirements? To make a meal balanced, we should take the following into consideration:
• It should contain all three macronutrients: Carbohydrates to provide energy and fibre, protein to provide building blocks for tissue maintenance and repair, and fat to provide essential fatty acids.
• It must contain vegetables and fruit to ensure variety of vitamins and minerals and fibre.
• It should be low in salt.
• It should contain some dairy for healthy bones.
When designing your own salad for a main meal, think of the traditional Food Plate Model to achieve a balance in nutrients. Half your plate should always be vegetables, or one quarter vegetables and one quarter fruit. Another quarter of your plate should be carbohydrates and the remaining quarter should be protein. A small dairy portion should be made part of the meal, either as part of the protein portion (e.g. cheese) or as a salad dressing (using low-fat plain yoghurt).
Now that summer has arrived, fresh salads can be a cool, light, refreshing meal that can energise your day but still leave you feeling light before a run, and you could start with this delicious, recommended salad recipe (right), which is perfect to fuel your running.
HAM, CHEESE AND POTATO SALAD WITH HONEY-MUSTARD DRESSING
Serves: 4 Time to make: 45 minutes
500g baby/sweet potatoes, boiled, drained and halved
400g can artichokes in brine, boiled, drained and halved
1 yellow or red capsicum, diced
3 green onions, sliced
150g snow peas, trimmed and shredded
2 eggs, hard boiled, quartered
200g shaved ham, cut into bite-size pieces
100g low-fat cheese, grated or cubed
2 teaspoons honey
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Step 1 Combine all salad ingredients in a large serving bowl.
Step 2 Make dressing by whisking together all dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Drizzle over salad.
Step 3: Place this delicious salad on a bed of mixed lettuce leaves instead of adding a fruit, to increase the nutritional value.