I don’t know about you, but I find myself tempted to eat out WAY more often in the summertime. A quick patio drink turns into appies, turns into dinner sooner than you can snap your fingers. Worst of all, I’m happy to let this happen. No one wants to stay at home and cook a laborious meal every night especially when the sun is still shining!
It’s a bad habit to get into and a slippery slope as far as diet and budget go… sooooo, I’ve given myself a quick pep talk, a few new ‘rules’ and the preparation (and wiggle room) to set myself up for success. It’s absolutely possible to pick a healthy meal selection when dining out, but it’s almost always a larger portion than you’d normally serve yourself and you rarely know all the ingredients/quantities. This summer, recommit to a healthy, whole food lifestyle and repeat this to yourself every morning as you wake up craving that iced, triple shot, caramel macchiato from your go-to coffee shop… Now I hate the word ‘rules’ since I believe in balance, but starting out with a few guidelines can definitely set you and your budget up for success. Set a weekly spending allowance for food and beverage, it will help you to be more mindful when you make the decision to meet a friend for happy hour or a sunset cruise around the seawall.
A big part of acing any new regimen is preparation. Stock your fridge with healthy options and meal prep! My ultimate summer saver has been stocking the fridge with fun salad mixings. It’s easy to prep, inexpensive, and an opportunity to get creative. Salads fill you up so you don’t over indulge elsewhere and the best part is, they’re great on the go!
I’ve taken to making salads in mason jars and using an empty fruit cup container to hold back the items I don’t want getting soggy. I layer my salad starting with the water rich or heavy items first.
Base: quinoa, chickpeas, black beans
Layer 1: Greens– spinach, arugula, baby kale, cabbage, romaine
Layer 2: Extra veg/fruit—shredded carrot, beats, cucumber, tomatoes, raspberries, blueberries
Layer 3: Protein—chicken, tuna, cheese, egg
As much as I love salads, discovering new recipes can be difficult. I turn to my favourite restaurants for inspiration. Wendy’s has created a ‘summer in a bowl’ experience with their Strawberry Mango Chicken Salad. I love it because it’s easy to recreate at home and even easier to pick up on the way home or en route to your weekend destination—plus it keeps your budget happy too!
I start with fresh leafy green lettuce—sometimes I add a handful of spinach, ripe strawberries, cubes of mango, a light dusting of feta cheese, juicy BBQ’d chicken and a healthy dose of sunflower seeds for that satisfying crunch. For days when you’re famished, stuck in traffic or just needing a little something extra on the way to a wedding so you don’t overindulge on the buffet, Wendy’s offers their salads in full and half sized and at 470/270 cals you can feel good about it too!
And just in time for the long weekend, I’m giving away three $15 gift cards to Wendy’s to keep you on track while you’re on the go this summer! Comment with your favourite salad topper below. Contest ends Sunday, August 6th!
Photography by Janis Nicolay
Kitchen provided by Tomlenovich Design
Clothing provided by Mine and Yours
Hair + Makeup by Ana V Beauty
Thank you to Wendy’s for sponsoring this post. All comments and opinions are my own.