FoodFor StudentsHealthLifestyle

Quinoa power salads might actually help you keep your New Year’s resolution

Did you know that by the second week of February, a whopping 80 percent of New Year’s resolutions are broken?

These quinoa power salads have a flavorful punch and plenty of protein to provide you with the energy you need to get through your evening study session. Photo courtesy of Ally Analore/Connect.

These quinoa power salads have a flavorful punch and plenty of protein to provide you with the energy you need to get through your evening study session. Photo courtesy of Ally Analore/Connect.

During the holiday season, it was so easy to mask the guilt of binging on holiday cookies and two (or three) extra slices of Thanksgiving pie with the idea that the new year was right around the corner. And it helped us sleep a little better at night with the thought that maybe, just maybe, 2019 would be the year that we can stick to our fifth attempt at the “new year, new me” challenge.  

But let’s face it. The spring semester is kicking your butt. You’re juggling piles of homework, internships and a job. And you just don’t have the time nor energy to eat healthily and hit the gym consistently. And, if you’re anything like me, a juicy, greasy burger with a side of extra crispy fries has been screaming your name since Jan. 2.

Luckily, eating clean doesn’t have to be as tricky and as bland as some may perceive. It’s not all about tasteless chicken breast, mushy oatmeal and salads that look a little too much likeare a little too resembling of the grass in your front yard.

These quinoa power salads have a flavorful punch and plenty of protein to provide you with the energy you need to get through your evening study session. And, if you portion properly, you can meal prep four salads out of the ingredients listed below, which can help you stay on track for eating healthy throughout the whole week.

The best part about this recipe? All of the ingredients are interchangeable. Can’t stand tomatoes? Swap them out for your favorite veggie. Do you need to get rid of the chicken in your fridge? Grill some up in place of the crispy chickpeas. Can’t afford avocados until your next paycheck? Replace them with a sunny side up egg. You can literally do whatever makes your tummy happy (and your wallet).

Ingredients

  • 1 bag baby spinach
  • 1 16 oz. can of chickpeas
  • 2 cups of cherry tomatoes- sliced in half
  • 2 avocados- halved and pitted
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 2 tbs. Pepita seeds
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 tbs. olive oil
  • 1 tbs. garlic powder
  • 1 tbs. paprika
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Go ahead and preheat your oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper for easy cleanup.
  2. Rinse your chickpeas and use a paper towel to pat them dry them- as dry as you can get them. Chickpeas are packed full of protein and fiber– meaning not only do they keep you energized, but they also make you feel fuller longer. This helps to curb your appetite when that 4 p.m. carb craving kicks in.
  3. Spread your chickpeas as evenly as you can on your tray and top them with a few glugs of olive oil. Don’t skimp on the oil here because the more you use, the crispier your chickpeas will be. And with so many types of oils out there (sunflower, avocado, coconut, etc.), you can use whatever oil makes your heart happy or whatever you happen to have on hand.
  4. Toss your chickpeas around so they are evenly coated in oil and place them in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes, tossing them every 10 minutes or so. This will ensure that they roast evenly on all sides and so they don’t burn. Don’t freak out if you hear them popping. It’s perfectly normal.
  5. Once your chickpeas turn golden brown and are sizzling, take them out of the oven and season them with 1 tbs. of both paprika and garlic powder. Then salt and pepper to taste. It’s important to season your chickpeas after you roast them because you don’t want the seasonings to burn, which can create a bitter taste.

    Top your quinoa power salad with a squeeze of lemon juice and fresh cracked pepper. Photo courtesy of Ally Analore/Connect.

    Top your quinoa power salad with a squeeze of lemon juice and fresh cracked pepper. Photo courtesy of Ally Analore/Connect.

  6. The rest of this recipe is as easy as ever. If you’re meal prepping your quinoa power salads, go ahead and get your Tupperware ready. If you’re just making one at a time, then one bowl will obviously do the trick.
  7. Start each quinoa power salad with a generous bed of baby spinach layered with 1/2 cup of quinoa and ¼ of your roasted chickpeas. Then add ½ cup of sliced grape tomatoes, ½ an avocado sliced and ½ tbs of pepita seeds. Pepita seeds serve as an extra boost of protein, a healthy fat and a delightful crunch to your salad. You can also substitute these with sunflower seeds, pine nuts or almonds if you prefer.

Also, you don’t want your sliced avocados to turn brown and questionable. So, it’s highly recommended to cut the second avocado the day you eat your third salad.

  1. Top your quinoa power salad with a squeeze of lemon juice and fresh cracked pepper. And there you go! An easy, healthy salad that doesn’t taste like grass. And who knows, maybe 2019 will be the year you keep your New Year’s resolution all the way until March.

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