Many of my clients often tell me how they want to reach for something sweet after their meals. Whether they’ve had a long day with the kids, are feeling stressed out with work, are dealing with PMS or other issues, they might grab a piece of chocolate to take the edge off. But what if I told you that’s not necessary?
If you can catch yourself before you head to the freezer with a spoon looking for Ben & Jerry’s, you can pause and be conscious of your actions and make better decisions. Instead, toss a handful of food containing healthy fats into your mouth, such as walnuts, to balance your blood sugar. This will buy you some extra time to make a nourishing meal, like this salad, that is filled with natural sweetness and fiber.
What might surprise you about this salad is the fresh figs. Figs aren’t an ingredient you see every day—though they are available at the majority of food stores (just ask customer service if you don’t see them!). They’re packed with enough natural sugars to help settle any sweet tooth, plus ofter you some much-needed fiber. The fresh lemon zest, basil, carrots and cherry tomatoes also found in this recipe are great at curbing cravings, too. This way you’re not scouring your kitchen cabinets for dessert afterward.
If you’re looking to add protein, try four large hard boiled eggs. After boiling them in water on the stovetop for 10 minutes, remove them from the heat and run them under cold water for two minutes. Peel and discard the outer egg shell, then chop the egg yolks and whites. Next, blend them with one ripe mashed avocado to make an avocado egg salad. Serve this on top of the below salad.
By Amie Valpone
- 1 Fiji apple, diced or thinly sliced
- 6 large orange or purple carrots, shaved and ends trimmed
- 4 fresh figs, halved
- ½ cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 1 medium cucumber, sliced into half moons
- 1 tablespoon fresh basil, finely chopped
- 1 scallion, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 large lemon, juice
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
On a large platter or in a large bowl (we used a cast iron skillet here for a creative serving suggestion), combine the apple, shaved carrots, figs, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, basil and scallion. Set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk the lemon zest, lemon juice, ground cumin, oil, salt and pepper. Drizzle over the salad and gently toss to combine. Serve immediately.
Photography by Amie Valpone
>>Amie Valpone is the founder of The Healthy Apple and best-selling author of the cookbook Eating Clean: The 21-Day Plan to Detox, Fight Inflammation, and Reset Your Body.