5 Salads in 5 Minutes!

by Nikky Manausa on March 11, 2014

Sliced AvocadoI AM The Salad Queen

Poor salad! It gets tagged as being “rabbit food,” “unsatisfying,” and “what you eat before you really eat.” Almost every day I eat a HUGE salad for either lunch or dinner (sometimes both!), and I promise I never go hungry. With confidence I call myself “The Salad Queen.” I can whip up a delicious bowl of rodent food that will cause any carnivore’s palate to plea for more. AND I can make many salads in less time than it takes to make a sandwich! All you non-believers, watch out, I am about to bring out the salad-lover within you!

Sabotaging Salads

Sorry Caesar, your salad just isn’t that heart-healthy. Ranch, blue cheese, and all those other really creamy white salad dressings need to stay out of your bowl, too. Adding fat to your salad is not necessarily a bad thing, but adding bad fats should be avoided. Registered Dietician, Elizabeth M. Ward, wrote an easy-to-understand article for WebMD called Fat Facts: Good Fats vs. Bad Fats where she identifies and defines essential fatty acids, saturated fats, and unsaturated fats.

I know this may seem alarming, but I promise that you do not always need salad dressing. Consider using homemade guacamole, plain Greek yogurt mixed with lemon juice and salt and pepper, extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar, or cottage cheese as your “dressing.”

Be wary of adding gobs of cheese. I like using fresh Parmesan, feta, and goat cheese because a little can go a long way. Croutons also have very little nutritious value and should be left out. For added crunch, consider topping your salad with nuts or seeds.

The Basics to a Delicious Salad

First rule, there aren’t any rules! Get creative! You might just surprise yourself when you start experimenting with what different tastes and textures work well together in a salad. But for you recipe-followers out there, include the following in your salad:

  • Iceberg is out, DARK green is in. You are not just limited to romaine lettuce anymore! Choose leafy greens like spicy arugula, sweet butter lettuce, or fresh spinach. I buy a lot of pre-packaged salad greens because they are already washed and are ready to eat.
  • Choose a protein for your salad. Tuna, salmon, turkey, chicken, shrimp, chick peas, eggs, and cottage cheese are all good sources of protein.
  • Choose something “sweet.” A little something sweet in your salads adds a nice flavor change. I like to use a variety of berries, chopped apples, raisins, mandarin oranges (in their own juice), or grape tomatoes.
  • Make sure you have a healthy fat in your salad to help keep you satiated longer. Walnuts, pecans, cashews, avocados, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds all make good options.
  • I like to add fresh cracked pepper on all my salads for a touch of spice.

Here they are, Five Salads in Five Minutes!

You will notice that I did not include the measurements for each of these salads. I did that on purpose to allow you the freedom to adjust the salads to your preference. These are merely suggestions on how different foods can work well together as a salad ensemble.

Raspberry Salmon Avocado Salad 

Raspberry Avocado Salmon Salad

Greens: 50/50 Mix
Protein: Wild Salmon Package
Something Sweet: Raspberries
Healthy Fat: Chopped walnuts and avocados
Dressing: Light Raspberry Walnut

Raspberry Avocado Salmon Salad
Blackberry Almond Balsamic Chicken Salad
Blackberry Almond Balsamic Turkey Salad
Greens: Baby Spinach
Protein: Reduced Sodium Boar’s Head Turkey Breast
Something Sweet: Blackberries
Healthy Fat: Sliced almonds and reduced-fat feta
Dressing: Light Balsamic
Blackberry Turkey Salad
Apple Chicken Avocado Salad
Apple Chicken Salad
Greens: 50/50 Mix
Protein: Reduced Sodium Boar’s Head Chicken Breast
Something Sweet: Chopped apple
Healthy Fat: Avocado and one egg
Dressing: Balsamic Vinegar
Apple Chicken Avocado Salad
Lemon Dill Tuna Salad with Hummus
Tuna Dill Lemon Salad
Greens: Spring Mix and Fresh Dill
Protein: Packaged Albacore Tuna
Something Sweet: Cherry Tomatoes
Healthy Fat: Hummus
Dressing: Fresh squeezed lemon juice (just squeeze it right on top of the greens and tuna)
Lemon Dill Tuna Salad
Strawberry Arugula Chicken Salad
Strawberry Walnut Chicken Salad
Greens: Green Leaf and Arugula
Protein: Rotisserie chicken breast, chopped
Something Sweet: Sliced strawberries
Healthy Fat: Avocado and walnuts
Dressing: Light Raspberry Walnut
Strawberry Arugula Chicken Salad
Grab a fork and dig in! Feel free to leave a comment with your own creative salad combinations!
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Old Centerville Road, Tallahassee, FloridaGlad to Get Back To A “Normal” Routine

Last week I ran 39 miles in five days. This week I covered the same amount of ground, but instead ran it in six days. Just over a year ago, I never thought I would be able to run four days straight. Now, it feels abnormal to not run six days out of the week.

I wish I could find the particular post, but I will never forget when Dustin Rhodes, a talented ultra-runner who died prematurely at the age of 29 from an aggressive brain cancer, asked if anyone else thought it might be a good idea to go for a very slow and easy run the day after running the Tallahassee Marathon back in February of 2012. For reference, Dustin ran a 3:18:48 marathon. I also ran that year, my second marathon, in 4:13:25. I read his post and thought, “He is crazy!” There were several responses, but the one that has stuck with me said something like this:

  • “The body is like cement. If you continue to mix cement, it will stay fluid. When you stop stirring it, the cement hardens.”

This simile has been true for me. It seems the more I run, the better I feel. I tend to have superior runs preceding an easy run day than I do after a full day of rest.

Today’s Sunday long run after a race yesterday was yet proof of the cement theory. Read below to find out more!

My Training Log for This Week

Total Miles: 39

Monday: Rest Day

Tuesday: 6Tuesday Intervals Nikky Manausa

I was able to run my first set of intervals since running the Tallahassee Marathon on February 2nd. Because time was of the essence, I ran the one mile repeats on a rolling hill loop in my neighborhood. My running coach, Nancy Stedman, advised I run them in 7:18, and that the purpose was to incorporate some speed without killing myself. I warmed up for about 1.5 miles, then ran 3, 1 mile repeats, each with a 2 minute slow jog recovery in between. You can see I cut the second one short (by accident). I finished with a little over a mile cool down.


Wednesday: 5

I ran 5 recovery miles and my legs felt fatigued.

Wednesday Recovery Run Nikky Manausa

Thursday: 7

It rained all day Thursday so I ended up having to run on the treadmill. Despite that I had run fatigued just 15 hours before, my legs felt refreshed. I ran 7 miles in 1:02:18 with an average pace of 8:57.

Friday: 3

I finally got to add back in a few miles instead of an additional rest day. I ran the Shamrock Scurry race route. You know you are a distance runner when 3 miles feels like a warmup! I also got to meet Greg McMillan! I wrote about my celebrity encounter here.

Shamrock Scurry Preview Run

Saturday: 6

I ran my first race since completing the Tallahassee Marathon. It was a tough course, and I didn’t PR, but it was an excellent training run (which was the intent). I wrote all about my race experience in My Shamrock Scurry 5K Race Report 2014. I ran a total of 6 miles, inclusive of 2 warmup miles (first mile at 8:50 and second mile at 7:40), the 5K, and a cool down mile (10:12). Below is the 5K.

Shamrock Scurry GPS Stats Nikky Manausa

Sunday: 12

Running those first few steps the day after a race feels like trying to stir hardened cement. I wouldn’t say anything actually hurt, but my body felt so tight, especially my glutes and hamstrings. I met a group to run, but I started before them because 1. I was paying a babysitter, and 2. I needed to just do my own thing and not worry about trying to keep up. It was nice to know they were out there though.

I ran out Old Centerville Road near Bradley’s Country Store. The clay roads are very scenic and peaceful, but also very hilly. I saw a huge barn owl fly in front of me and a brilliantly ruby-colored cardinal. The photo at the top of this post is from out there just as the sun was starting to rise. Runs like today remind how blessed I am that I can get out and enjoy the world one step at a time.

Pushing the pace was not the intention of this run. I wanted to successfully finish the week off with 6 days of running and allow the 12 miles to aid in my recovery from the 5K. When I have an easy (low-intensity) run, my goal is to feel better at the end than when I started. I definitely felt more loose after I finished. By mile 7, my body was warmed up and moving. Makes me laugh to think it took me 7 miles to get to feeling more normal, but hey, it worked!

12 mile Long Run Old Centerville Rd., Tallahassee, Florida

New Goal

Over the next 5 weeks I will be vamping up my speed as I prepare for Springtime Tallahassee 10K (March 29th) and the Palace Saloon 5K (April 12th). I will also have to figure out a way to get my training in this upcoming weekend and early next week as we head out-of-town for my kid’s spring break. No excuses, I’ll figure it out!

Thank you for reading my blog! Please consider subscribing so that I can help keep you, and your family, fit for life!


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