May 28, 2024
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May 28, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Creamy, Crunchy Yet Healthy Salads

Dear Coach Gila,

In an effort to lose weight I attempted to eat a lot of vegetables. I had been preparing a large salad for lunch every day. I added tuna fish or grilled chicken and lots of vegetables. Here’s the thing: I don’t like to eat them. I really enjoy creamy mayonnaise-based salad dressings and really dislike vinaigrettes. When I add a large amount of creamy dressing I feel like I’m defeating the purpose of attempting to eat a healthy meal. I should mention that I top my salads with croutons or chow mein noodles. This is what I’m used to and really like. I need the crunch factor. I switched back to sandwiches for lunch and now I’m eating way too much bread! Can you help me?

Thanks in advance,

Need My Creamy Crunchy

Dear Creamy Crunchy,

Thank you for your question! It’s a common issue, and I think others can relate to your dilemma. You’d like to increase your vegetable consumption but really haven’t been enjoying your healthier version of salad.

I’m all about enjoying every bite of food you eat. Healthy food can be and should be delicious! There is no reason to suffer through unappealing “diet” food to reach your health goals. I have a few suggestions for you that I hope will transform your lunch salad into a meal you look forward to eating.

For creamy dressings I have two different ideas.

My first recommendation is to use techina. I love using homemade techina as a salad dressing. It’s a healthy fat that will keep you satiated, as well as an excellent source of calcium.

This is my recipe:

½ cup store-bought organic sesame paste, the only ingredient should be sesame seeds

½ cup water

1 small lemon, freshly squeezed

2 garlic cloves

3/4 teaspoon of salt

Blend together and taste. Adjust seasonings if necessary. Sometimes I add fresh cilantro or parsley to change it up.

My second idea is to make a creamy dressing using avocado as the base instead of mayonnaise. Avocados are incredibly nutritious. They are loaded with heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids and are high in fiber. Eating avocados can lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

Here’s how I do it:

1 large, ripe avocado

1–2 cloves of garlic

½ lime or lemon, freshly squeezed

½ teaspoon sea salt and pepper to taste

¼ cup–1/2 cup of water

Place all the ingredients into a mini food processor or nutribullet (you can also use an immersion blender). Start with ¼ cup of water and add more until you reach your desired consistency.

Process until smooth.

Use this as your base and then let the fun begin. Possible add-ins: fresh jalapeno, hot sauce, parsley, cilantro, basil or sweet Vidalia onion.

For crunch, add sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds to your salads right before eating. You will not only have the crunch factor; you will be receiving many health benefits as well. Sunflower seeds are an excellent source of vitamin E, the body’s primary fat-soluble antioxidant and have significant anti-inflammatory effects. They are a very good source of copper and vitamin B1. In addition, sunflower seeds are a good source of manganese, selenium, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamin B6, folate and niacin.

Pumpkin seeds are a rich source of zinc and heart-healthy magnesium. They have anti-inflammatory benefits, may help improve insulin regulation, may provide benefits for heart and liver health. Raw nuts and seeds, including pumpkin seeds, are one of the best sources of plant-based omega-3s. 

There are numerous ways to eat the rainbow other than a salad.

Think roasted vegetables. Think sautéed vegetables. Think braised vegetables. Yum!

Fall is here and the temperature will continue to drop, so consider preparing a vegetable soup or stew. You can take it to work or school in a thermos and enjoy a hot bowl of scrumptious goodness.

Please be in touch and let me know if my ideas worked for you. You can reach me through my website or through my Facebook page @mainassethealth.

Here’s to eating the rainbow and enjoying it!


Coach Gila

By Gila Guzman

 Gila C. Guzman JD, CINHC, journeyed from a practicing attorney to a certified integrative nutrition health coach. Coach Gila helps busy families reach their health goals by providing realistic tips and tools. Coach Gila practices a whole-foods approach and is sought out domestically as well as internationally by those who want to change their relationship with food, end yo-yo dieting and lose weight, overcome emotional eating, heal from autoimmune diseases, and manage IBS and diabetes. To learn more please visit


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