Like many people I know, I started 2016 with a bunch of promises to myself to sleep more, eat less, and get back into shape, and while I started the year off with a bang, I started to drag my heels after about 2 weeks.
And I’ve been feeling pretty terrible about myself.
The good news is that my mother didn’t raise quitters, so a few weeks ago I swallowed my pride and asked a personal trainer at my gym if he would sit down and review my exercise and nutrition plan with me in hopes he could give me some pointers to get back on track.
He gave me so many helpful tips in the 2 hours we spent together that I don’t know where to start, but the one tip that has helped me the most is to strategically plan my carb intake around my exercise plan. It has been a complete game-changer to me, and I find I not only have more fuel to power through my favorite HIIT and strength-training workouts, but I also have more sustained energy for the remainder of the day.
Oh, and did I mention I’ve lost 3 lbs?
It’s been pretty amazing.
So I’ve been on the hunt for healthy carb-rich foods to incorporate into my pre- and post-workout meals, and recently stumbled upon this FANTASTIC recipe in my friend Aviva Goldfarb’s new book, The Six O’Clock Scramble Meal Planner: A Year of Quick, Delicious Meals to Help You Prevent and Manage Diabetes.
Quinoa is a gluten-free nutritional powerhouse that is loaded with fiber, protein, and essential minerals like magnesium, potassium, iron, and zinc, and it’s a fabulous food to incorporate into your diet when you’re trying to lose weight.
You can sweeten this recipe with a little bit of honey or agave nectar, and if you prefer a little crunch in your meals, Aviva recommends pairing it with a couple of lavash crackers.
- 1 cup quinoa, preferably red
- ½ - 1 lemon, juice only, ¼ cup
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, (preferably something light and fruity, if you have it)
- 6 oz. baby spinach, (about 6 cups), sliced into thin strips
- 4 scallions, dark and light green parts, thinly sliced
- ¼ cup fresh dill, finely chopped, or use 1 tsp. dried
- ½ cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
- 1 cup cashews, lightly toasted, coarsely chopped, or use toasted pumpkin seeds for a nut-free alternative
- ½ cup dried cranberries (preferably naturally sweetened)
- ½ cup crumbled feta or goat cheese
- Cook the quinoa according to package directions (this can be done up to 2 days in advance).
- In a measuring cup or medium bowl, combine the lemon juice, oil, and dried dill, if using it (if using fresh dill, add it with the remaining salad ingredients).
- In a large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients, except the cheese.
- Stir in the cooked quinoa and the dressing, then gently fold in the cheese.
- Season it with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve it immediately or refrigerate it for up to 3 days.
Don’t forget to pick up your own copy of Aviva’s new book, The Six O’Clock Scramble Meal Planner: A Year of Quick, Delicious Meals to Help You Prevent and Manage Diabetes!
It contains 160 delicious family-tested main dish recipes that take 30 minutes or less to prepare, and that use natural, fresh ingredients. The recipes are sorted by season and week to give you variety throughout the year, and Aviva includes flavor-boosting suggestions with variations on sauces, spices, or mix-ins, as well as helpful tips to make cooking and shopping easier so you save time and money.
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