Thursday, 15 May 2014

Fresh and quick Summer Salad : Is Summer a good time to diet ? :: Green Salad

Is Summer really the best time to Diet?  

Come Summers and people willing to go on a diet get busy with their plans et al. I am sure everyone must have noticed that we tend to eat more in Winters in comparison of Summers. The simple science behind it is, that when it's cold in fall and winter, we load up on carbs to give us energy and keep us "warm" so to speak. Whereas in the summer, there isn't that need to "hibernate" so we eat less as a result… Plus the urge to drink chilled liquid ( in my case, buttermilk or plain water ) fills up your stomach a bit and you don’t have that much space for solid food.

During Summer, lighter foods are generally on the menu. Heavy foods prevail during fall and winter. And spring isn't quite bikini season yet, so people aren't as concerned about their eating. When summer hits, though, restaurants and shops take advantage of the weight loss craze by selling lighter foods. Maybe the cultural shifts throughout the seasons spill over to everyone.

I have heard that Sunlight does help in weight loss by increasing serotonin ( some happy hormone ! ) levels in the body. The biggest dieting advantage of the summer is the ability to stay outdoors longer, encouraging people to find a neighbourhood park or do some other outdoor activity. Moreover, it's easier to eat better in summer because there's an abundance of seasonal, fat-burning foods that are relatively low-priced. For example, okra (an important source of vitamin B6 and folic acid), cucumbers (a good source of silica, which is good for the skin), peaches, (a good source of fiber), and asparagus and broccoli (which are full of hunger-satisfying protein), are all readily available. And abundance of watery fruits like Watermelon, Melons, Lychee, berries etc.. makes it easier for you to fill up your water levels.



So again, is Summer really the best time to Diet?  

That’s the question I asked myself when I started craving for something chilled and fresh for dinner rather than a hot Indian meal. Dinner time is a treasured time in my home. A time when me and S sit together, and discuss Saas-Bahu as intently as Modi-Kejriwal war. That’s also the time when we cook and eat ( correction: I cook and he eats ) and appreciate what we have and how lucky we have to have it ( not in religious sense, but just food really ). And being super enthusiastic foodies that we are, we appreciate and love the time a.k.a home cooked Indian meal ( to be precise )

So you might understand the disappointment, when instead of a proper Indian platter of Daal-Rice-Sabzi, I served S a big bowl full of this Summer Salad for dinner. And being an obedient husband that he is, he ate it all. This, and the big pack of Chicken wings I got for him from Nandos ( as Plan B, if he throws tantrums ). So it went OK that day, and a few other days after that as well. He is cool to replace this Salad ( or any fresh leaf salad ) for his dinner, as long as I serve Chicken wings alongside. Which  is a win-win for me too.. no cooking and toiling for that evening, and watching Modern Family on SKY 1 channel :)


So anyway, coming back to the simple Salad for today. It’s nothing but a combination of fresh greens mixed together. It’s light and filling at the same time with sweet and salty flavors with crunchy and soft textures. This is a perfect salad for summer time!

I love recipes that have few ingredients but turn out so amazingly delicious. Simple recipes always seem to be the best ones to me. This salad was on the table within five minutes and thoroughly loved by me and my carnivorous husband. ( Pun intended ! )  I loved the combination of flavors and textures – the crisp cucumbers with the fresh greens, and creamy Feta cheese with the tart and sweet balsamic vinegar. My favorite part is that I always seem to have these ingredients lying around and it requires zero planning and totally fills me up.

Let’s get on with the simplest recipe below:


What you need?

  • 1 portion of cucumber  ( Peeled or not, depends on your preference )
  • 200 gms of lettuce ( about 2 bowls full )
  • ½ cup Sweet corn
  • ½ bell pepper  ( Capsicum ) – Any colour,  I like red or yellow in Salads  since they are sweet and not too hot
  • A bunch of rocket leaves – about ½ cup
  • A bunch of spinach leaves, baby  spinach would work best
  • 1 tsp of black pepper  powder or cracks
  • 50-100 gms of Feta Cheese
  • A pinch of Salt – optional
  • Juice of a lemon
  • 1 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar

How to assemble ?

  • Wash all your greens and mix together gently folding in a big mixing bowl. 
  • Add cucumber, bell pepper, Feta Cheese and salt and give it a gentle shake
  • Transfer to a serving dish, sprinkle some cracks of black pepper on top.
  • Squeeze the lemon juice in a bowl, and mix balsamic vinegar with it. Drizzle this combo over the served salad
  • Enjoy this Summery Salad with a nice crusty bread or Lentil soup.

Notes:

  • In the pictures, I have kept this small bowl of Mozzarella and Tomatoes aside, which my husband likes to add in to this salad.  They both go very nicely with rocket leaves too
  • Do not keep the Salad at room temperature for long, since the greens would start releasing the water very soon and it will all be runny then
  • Feta cheese is delicious in  the salad, but since its  high in calories do not go overboard with it. 50-60 gms serves good for two portions/ persons. 



Linking to Kalyani's event - Iron rich food, started by Srivalli 

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