Shrimp and Mango Black Bean Avocado Salad

Ingredients:

1 pound shrimp

1 mango, peeled and cubed

2 avocado’s peeled and cubed

1 can of black beans rinsed

Cilantro

Dried or fresh jalapeno pepper

Salt and pepper to taste

Red leaf lettuce

Chopped cucumbers

Baby tomatoes

Instructions:

Steam shrimp and peel up to the tail and put aside.

To make the Mango black bean avocado salsa:

Add chopped mango, black beans, avocado, jalapeño peppers and chopped cilantro to a bowl. Mix and season with salt and pepper to taste.

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To assemble you can add the mango, black bean avocado to a bowl and add the shrimp and use as an appetizer.

Or you can add the red leaf lettuce, baby tomatoes, cucumbers along with the mango, black bean avocado salsa and shrimp and make a lunch or dinner salad.

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A Nice Surprise at Panera

Today Tina caught wind of a deliciously amazing option at Panera: their Super Top Secret Must-Know-The-Password-To-Order Menu.  Okay, it’s not that secret, but somehow it had slipped under our radar.  How could Panera, right around the corner from our office, have such a divine bunch of lunch options that we haven’t even heard of?!  You can check this menu out in its entirety here, but we’re most excited about their Power Chicken Hummus Bowl.

Seriously, this salad is amazing.  It’s about the farthest thing it could be from a wimpy salad for a wimpy meal plan.  The nice folks at our Panera location whipped this salad up in a flash and sent us on our way with the perfect lunch.  It’s convenient and tasty, but what really caught Tina’s eye were the nutrition facts.

Waiting to be devoured.

Waiting to be devoured.

Here it is in all its well-balanced and nutritious glory.  The Registered Dietitian Stamp of Approval is owed to the fact that this salad has a very near perfect balance of nutritional elements for lunch.  The ratio here is 18 grams carbs : 4 grams fiber : 25 grams protein.  When grabbing lunch out on the run, it’s very important to check that your meal comes as close to this equation as possible.  Most restaurant meals, Tina says, push an overload of carbs, throwing your meal our of proportion.  Sticking to the figures above will ensure stabilization of blood sugar, allowing for energy levels to remain constant and for focus to increase after your meal; not to mention, keeping you sustained for a good three to four hours.  You won’t be snoozing at your desk after this salad.  The chicken is antibiotic-free and plentiful, accounting for the generous amount of protein.  Hummus is a cleverly added low glycemic index carb, while the flavor and consistency of it (AMAZING) eases one’s desire for creamy dressing.  Plenty of veggies and spinach contribute fiber and antioxidant nutrients.

Panera’s Power Chicken Hummus Bowl gets an A++ rating on Tina’s list.  It’s the best choice we’ve seen in a long, long time from a restaurant.

Way to go, Panera.  Way to go.

Smokey Dill Arctic Char

Arctic Char happens to be one of my favorite fish.  It is loaded with Omega-3 fatty acid which is important for cell health and decreasing inflammation.  Read below for the health benefits of the sides, and in the meantime start up this quick and delicious fish dinner!

Arctic Char

 

Ingredients:
8 oz. of Arctic Char
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dried dill
1 teaspoon smoked salt
1 lime
Ground peppercorns to taste

Instructions:
Coat a glass baking pan with olive oil.

Set oven temperature to 350 degrees.

Place Arctic Char in glass pan with skin side down.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Add dill, salt, pepper and squeeze lime over fish.

Bake for 30 minutes until the fish flakes.

Serve over baked spaghetti squash and add stir-fried greens.

Baked Spaghetti Squash:

Spaghetti squash is a great replacement for pasta: it’s lower in calories, higher in fiber and has iron and vitamin B-6.  It is also boasts quite a bit more antioxidants than pasta (which actually contains none) to help decrease your risk of certain diseases.

Slice spaghetti squash in half.  Scoop out seeds.  Place in a glass baking pan and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until you can insert a fork into the squash.  Take out of oven and allow to cool.  Once cooled, scrape the spaghetti squash out of the shell and serve.

Stir-fried Greens:

I can never say enough good things about greens.  They are high in fiber, minerals (including iron, calcium, potassium, and magnesium) and vitamins K,C,E, along with many of the B vitamins.  They also provide phytonutrients, lutein and zeaxanthin, which protect our cells from damage and our eyes from age-related problems, and a small amount of Omega-3 fats.
I like to use a mix of swiss chard, bok choy, dandelion greens and kale.  I slice the greens horizontally, then add 1 tablespoon olive oil to a pan and turn the temperature to medium.  Add garlic, onions or chives and add the greens.  They should be ready in about a minute.

Enjoy!

Cranberry Orange Zest Salad

We’ve noticed here at Lighten Up that Spring seems to be our busiest season.  Whether the motivation is to increase training over the summer or to look good in a bikini, we don’t know- or care!  We’re just glad to have clients who are excited about getting healthy, whatever their reasons.

However, this yearly influx of new clients leaves us staring at each other at the end of the day wondering where the time has gone.  Many of our clients seem to be suffering from the same experience.  Has Spring always been this busy?

It’s more important during busy times than any other to keep energy high, maintain focus, and take care of yourself.  Don’t skip lunch, and make sure you’re eating foods that are nourishing.  Today we have the perfect “recipe” for on-the-go lunches: Cranberry Orange Zest Salad!  Prepare it in the morning, store it in the office fridge and bring it out for a quick energy-boosting lunch.

The walnuts in this salad are full of omega-3 fatty acid, and veggies are always a good source of antioxidants.  Beets provide iron, folate, vitamin C and a rich source of a phytochemical compound called glycine betaine (which can help with lowering homocysteine levels in the blood).  The root of the beet, too, is a rich source of b-complex vitamins- niacin (B-3), pantothenic acid (B-5), pyridoxine (B-6)- and minerals such as iron, manganese, copper, and magnesium.  And don’t forget that salads have a healthy dose of fiber, too.

Zest Salad


 

1 cup arugula
1 carrot, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1/4 cucumber, sliced
1 radish, chopped
1 fresh beet (cooked in boiling water until soft, then peeled and chopped)
8 walnuts halves
2 tablespoons dried cranberries
1/2 teaspoon dried orange zest (I use Penzey’s)
1/8 teaspoon Szechuan salt
fresh ground peppercorns, to taste

Mix together in a bowl and add some reduced balsamic vinegar to taste with two teaspoons olive oil.

 

Tina often brings this salad in for lunch and adds fresh salmon from the previous night’s dinner, or a can of Wild Planet Tuna, which is aluminum free.  If you’re vegan, add black beans instead.  Enjoy!