Today is the first Monday of June, and that means it’s time for another edition of my monthly series, Motivation Monday. For me, healthy living is all about motivation. It’s about finding the motivation to skip a second helping, go for a walk, or cook instead of ordering takeout . Each Motivation Monday features easy tips and a healthy recipe.
Last month, my goal was to spend as much time outside as possible. I lucked out with great weather and spent lots of time walking, having picnics, and just soaking it all in! Hopefully, this month isn’t too hot and humid, because I plan to keep it up.
For June, my goal is simple: to lose weight. I’m also sharing a recipe for a healthy and delicious Greek Quinoa Salad.
My plan is to:
- Watch portion sizes.
- Cut out unhealthy snacks.
- Exercise regularly.
- Track my exercise and everything I eat.
I’ve done this before (oops … will have to work on the maintenance part!), and the thing that made the difference for me was tracking everything. I really like SparkPeople.
SparkPeople is a website that teaches you how to eat healthier and exercise regularly. Just enter how many pounds you’d like to lose, pick a date you’d like to lose the weight by, and SparkPeople gives you a calorie range. Then you track everything you eat, which is not nearly as annoying as it sounds. As you lose weight, the calorie range gets updated. Best of all, it’s FREE!
It also allows you to track exercise (bonus: the more you exercise, the more you can eat!), and there are a ton of educational articles, healthy recipes, and even a community of like-minded people to connect with. Plus, there’s an app for when you’re on the go.
In case you’re wondering, I’m not being paid by SparkPeople to say this. I’ve used it before, and it worked really well for me, but I’ve also heard great things about My Fitness Pal and other programs. If you’re trying to lose weight, the important thing is to track your food intake and exercise, so you can make healthier decisions.
The most crucial part of losing weight – even more so than exercise – is eating well and watching portion size. Salads are a great option, but there’s nothing worse than eating one and then being hungry again an hour later, right?
That’s why I love this Greek Quinoa Salad. It has all the flavor of a traditional Greek salad, but the quinoa, which is full of protein and healthy carbs, keeps you full a lot longer. Plus, it tastes great!
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 pint grape tomatoes
- 1 medium cucumber
- 1/2 a medium red onion
- 1/2 cup black olives
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta
- 3 cups spinach, lightly packed
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
- 1 garlic clove, crushed or minced
- 1/2 tsp. dried basil
- 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. pepper
- Combine quinoa and vegetable broth in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil.
- Cover pan and reduce heat to low. Cook until broth is absorbed and quinoa is tender.
- Place cooked quinoa in a large bowl and set aside to cool.
- Combine all vinaigrette ingredients in a small bowl.
- Whisk until well combined. Add additional salt and pepper to taste, if desired, and set aside.
- Halve grape tomatoes.
- Peel cucumber, if waxed. Cut in half and remove seeds with a spoon. Slice into 1/4-inch thick pieces.
- Peel and thinly slice red onion.
- Remove pits from black olives, if necessary, and cut in half.
- Add tomatoes, cucumber, onion, olives, and feta to cooled quinoa.
- Drizzle with vinaigrette and mix everything together.
- Add spinach and toss gently.
- Season to taste with additional salt, if necessary. Enjoy!
I used red quinoa for this salad, but you can use any variety. Use your favorite kind of olives. I prefer Kalamata or Greek olives. This salad can be made ahead; however, add spinach just before serving.
Have you ever tried to lose weight? What worked for you?
P.S. Read all of my Motivation Monday posts.
P.P.S. Check out my other salad recipes for more healthy, but filling ideas.