Power Salads: a punch of energy and nutrition

During this last month of school, stress levels begin to rise, I feel the hours of the day slip through my fingers, and the cries from my stomach go unanswered. Many days I just feel like I don’t have enough time. Other days because I’m just too lazy to make myself a healthy lunch so I eat out … again. With work, school, homework, projects and a million other things we students have going on, it’s hard to find the time and energy to eat something healthy.

I’ve been looking for an answer to this eternal lunch/snack problem. I think I finally found my answer, and hopefully yours — power salads. They are easy-to-make fast snacks, and are perfect for on-the-go days.

Image via wholeliving.com

Thanks to Pinterest I was introduced to power salads. These salads are no new concept. They have been around and will always be. However, finding a couple of these recipes has been a lifesaver.

Usually when people say they’re having a salad for lunch, everyone assumes it’s a healthy choice, but with the amount dressing or the choice of vegetables (or lack thereof) salads can be a sneaky unhealthy dish. So first, the basics. How is a power salad different from a regular salad?

Power salads include one to two cups of leaves (lettuce, spinach, arugula, kale, etc.), plenty, plenty of different vegetables (think big splashes of color) and a good source of lean protein like chicken, ham, turkey, fish or beans. You can also include a small source of starch like croutons, pasta or even potatoes. For dressing, keep it on the lighter side using lime juice or olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Salads are easy to make, can be prepared in advanced and easy to take with you on the go! I’m seriously in love with these awesome recipes.

Here are a few recipes I particularly love from WholeLiving.com. I’ve changed and adapted some of these recipes to fit my budget and preferences.

1. Caesar Salad
Not your typical Caesar salad! Instead of anchovies, I add canned tuna.

2. Egg and Nut Salad
I choose to take out the firsee (a type of leaf) from this recipe.

Image via WholeLiving.com

Image via WholeLiving.com

3. Waldorf Revisited
I just swap out the ranch dressing for something lighter, like a splash of lime juice.

4. Chicken and Grape Salad
A delicious salad with grapes, almonds and avocados. I love the different flavors, the sweetness and the crunch. You have to try this!

5. The New Nicoise Salad
I know the name sounds flashy but this recipe is great, lean and delicious! I swap out the arugula for romaine lettuce and take out the olives.

Like I said, these salads have been a lifesaver. I prepare them the night before or early in the morning. Most, if not all, of the ingredients are conveniently easy to find and even easier to make.

These power salads offer a great solution during these last weeks of school when the workload picks up and the days seem to get shorter.

Eat up and stay healthy, Devils!

Eating healthy: Black bean salad

The term “starving student” isn’t very far off when describing most college students. The cost of a meal plan is outrageous and paying rent takes precedence over just about anything else. When you’re a little short on cash and need something quick and healthy, remember that we’ve all bean there. Try out this no-bake, easy recipe great for vegetarians and perfect for any student who doesn’t want to spend a fortune to feed themselves for a few days.

Black Bean Salad

Photo by Kate Kunkel

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of low-sodium black beans (fat free)
  • 1 can of sweet corn
  • Fresh cilantro
  • 4 fresh tomatoes (or sub for one can of diced tomatoes)
  • 1 lime

Preparation:

  • Open the can of black beans and drain the excess liquid. Dump the beans into a large bowl.
  • Open the can of corn and drain the excess liquid. Add the corn to the beans.
  • Use a cutting board to chop the tomatoes into small cubes. Mix in with the corn and beans.
  • Remove the leafs of cilantro and chop into small pieces. Add those in with everything else.
  • Cut the lime in half and squeeze the juice all over the salad.
  • Mix well and enjoy!

Photo by Kate Kunkel

Health Benefits

In addition to being cheap and easy to make, this black bean salad is good and good for you. Black beans are stocked with protein, fiber, antioxidants and other vitamins and minerals. They are considered a low-fat super food and are essential to any vegetarian diet. Corn is high in fiber as well and is a good source of vitamin C. Tomatoes are an excellent anti-oxidant and are a great source of vitamin C, potassium, and are scientifically proven to reduce the risk of strokes and certain cancers.

Because of the fiber, you’ll be surprised with how quickly this meal will fill you up. You can use this as a main dish, side to grilled chicken or as a hearty salsa with multi-grain tortilla chips.

Get cookin’, Devils!