Recipe Redux: Tuna Salad with Citrus Herb Vinaigrette

Today’s post is somewhat of a milestone for me professionally. Lately I have been honing my recipe development skills with the belief that I can help you make healthy food  delicious.  I am a food lover, but I am also a fitness fanatic! I believe you can have the best of both worlds! With this goal in mind,  I am happy to announce I am  offically part of the Recipe ReDuxers! What is RecipeReDux? Recipe ReDux was founded by dieititians: Regan Jones (of the Professional Palate Blog), Serena Ball and Deanna Segrave-Daly (both of Teaspoons of Communications) with the mission of promoting healthy eating by making it delicious!

On the 21st of each month, I will be posting my RecipeRedux, along with links to all the other member’s blogs. That’s right; you’ll find an abundance of  healthy, appetizing recipes all developed around one theme.

This month’s theme is Beat the Heat with No Cooked Meals. At first this seemed like a cinch for a gal who scales back her time in the kitchen all summer long by making salads and adding something grilled: salmon, shrimp, chicken, flank steak, etc. But something completely no cook was… well,  completely different. Hmm, if done correctly, this meal should taste like summer! Admittedly, I did not stray from my reliable salad comfort zone! My no cooked meal  includes  fresh local vegetables, herbs from my “terra cotta” garden and  a protein containing ingredient that requires no cooking- canned tuna. Because I am always conscious of making a balanced meal for an active lifestyle, I served my salad with a beautiful herb focaccia bread from a local bakery.  If this recipe (or any of the other links below) inspire you, take a well deserved  break from cooking tonight!

How do you enjoy seasonal fruits and vegetables?

Tuna Salad with Citrus Herb Vinaigrette

Tuna Salad with Citrus Herb Vinaigrette

Tuna Salad with Citrus Herb Vinaigrette

Tuna Salad with Citrus Herb Vinaigrette

by Diane Boyd

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 4 fresh tomatoes
  • 4 fresh lettuce leaves
  • 2 – 12 ounce cans of water packed solid white albacore tuna
  • 1/2 cup green pepper chopped
  • 1/2 cup green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup cucumber, quartered and sliced
  • 4 T canola oil
  • 2 T white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 T orange juice
  • 4 t Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 t sea salt
  • 2 t fresh thyme
  • 2 T fresh, chopped basil
  • 2T fresh chopped parsly
  • t fresh dill
  • ground black pepper
  • additional herbs for garnish as desired


Drain tuna and place in a bowl with green pepper, green onions, and cucumber. Toss to mix and break up any large chunks of tuna. Set aside.

Slice tomatoes and arrange on plates with tomatoes slightly overlapping one another. Tuck fresh basil leaves in between tomatoes. Top tomatoes with ground black pepper. Add a bed of lettuce to each plate.

Combine canola oil, white balsamic vinegar, orange juice, mustard, sea salt and fresh herbs. Mix well; pour over tuna mixture. Toss gently to mix. Measure 1 cup of tuna salad, for each plate and serve on bed of lettuce.

Add a sprig of thyme, parsley or dill for additional garnish.

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Keep It Functional

Functional fitness may be the latest buzzword for gyms, but at Cape Fear Sports Enhancement (CFSE), we’ve been practicing it all along! At CFSE we train athletes and active individuals with all the essential components of a conditioning program, including nutrition. Because today’s topic is functional fitness, I am happy to have director of CFSE, Austin Howlett, CSCS, USAW back as a guest blogger to explain the what, how and whys of functional fitness. Take it away Austin!

Thanks, Diane. At Cape Fear Sports Enhancement, athletes make up the largest part of my clientele. However, working within both an orthopaedic office and a physical therapy practice, brings the challenges of assisting a wide spectrum of individuals seeking better fitness. From the college athlete to the weekend warrior, I use functional fitness to focus on individual goals and/or sport specific demands, while keeping training applicable to the everyday stresses of life and/or sport.

What is functional fitness?

Functional exercise mimics movement patterns in day-to-day activities and movement patterns in sports. Train as you play or work. Does your work or sport have you on two feet, weight always evenly balanced, or does your work / Keep It Functionalsport put you in positions of unequal weight distribution? If you’re an athlete, you are rarely, if ever, utilizing leg strength/power through all of your extremities simultaneously. During sports participation your center of gravity is constantly being shifted and unevenly allocated.  The photo above exemplifies the fact that athletes often have to perform powerful and explosive maneuvers from awkward positions. Functional exercises prepare you for this. You don’t have to be an athlete to benefit. Many of us perform daily tasks in awkward positions; from a mother putting a child into a car seat to a fireman rescuing a victim while balancing on a ladder. Functional exercises will train your muscles and joints (proprioception) to be proficient in the movements specific to your sport or daily activity.

How does it work?

Functional fitness aims to have the athlete or individual support their own body weight in all anatomical planes of movement in relation to their sport/daily activity and to be able to adapt to constant changes in their surroundings. As an example of how it differs from weight stack machines and free weights, consider the football players who can barbell back squat 400+ pounds. This is an example of tremendous strength. However, these same athletes are often unable to support their own body weight on one leg and perform a single-leg weight squat with their back being supported by a wall or Swiss ball. So although weight stack machines influence muscle hypertrophy and strength, they limit our bodies to a specific pathway and range of motion through pulleys and lever systems. During play and practice athletes are never isolating one specific muscle group or competing in a controlled range of motion. Bottom line: increased strength alone does not correlate to improved athletic performance! Research published by Christou et. al. in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research supports this.  In their case-controlled study, sport-specific testing was use to evaluate performance with soccer training alone, soccer and resistance training combined, and a control group. The study ran for 16 weeks, and the strength component was twice per week. The soccer and resistance training group had significant improvements in strength including: maximum bench press, leg press, squat jump, countermovement jumps and 30 meter speed. However, soccer specific skill testing did not improve significantly with resistance training.  Therefore, resistance strength training alone may be inefficient for most athletes.

In order to enhance proficiency in your sport or in life, you must use multiple muscle groups in a coordinated manner in all aspects including – static and dynamic posture, changing body and joint positions; as well as performing explosive movements in uncontrolled environments. Functional fitness will challenge you with  exercises using your own body weight as resistance first. Once you master proper form and technique you can add  resistance and more complex movements to make your training more challenging. As you become proficient with your form and technique you can increase the intensity or volume to continue to challenge yourself.

Why functional fitness?

 Functional fitness benefits everyone!  It’s about being able to conquer the many obstacles that life or sport throws your way. Functional fitness will  train you to  use your total body and multiple muscle groups together in all aspects, thereby improving sports performance and decreasing the risk  of injury for all!

Please view an example of functional training for elite level surfers.

How does your training stack up to functional fitness?

Disclosure: Austin Howlett is  employeed by Cape Fear Sports Enhancement. Diane Boyd is a nutrition consultant to Cape Fear Sports Enhancement providing services including nutrition counseling, nutrition education and communication. We were not compensated for our time writing this blog post. The opinions are our own.

Austin Howlett, CSCS, USAW

Diane Boyd, MBA, RD, LDN




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