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health and wellness: summer salads

Super 1 Foods | Posted Thursday, June 5, 2014 at 09:10AM

Summer SaladA cool, fresh salad is the perfect summertime staple. If done right, salads can make a low-calorie, nutritious meal. Eating a salad can put you on track for achieving your daily requirement for both fruits and vegetables.

Build a Dark Green Base
Start building your salad with a dark green base. Experiment with a spring mix, romaine lettuce or my favorite, spinach and arugula. Aim for 2 cups of greens for a small salad and 4 cups for a larger salad. Remember, the darker the green, the more nutritious the leaf.

Load Up on Color
The next step to building a nutritious salad is to add colorful and nutritious fruits and vegetables. In the summertime, I love loading my salads with grapes, strawberries and blueberries. You can also add raw, steamed or grilled vegetables like yellow bell pepper, carrots, celery and tomato.

Power Up with Lean Protein
Choose lean protein for your salad like grilled skinless chicken breast, canned tuna, fresh salmon, sirloin steak or a hard-boiled egg. Don’t forget a serving size of meat is 3 ounces, or a deck of cards. You don’t have to add meat to pack your salad with protein. You can add chickpeas, kidney beans or black beans for a meat-free punch of protein. Adding protein to your salad can help keep your stomach satisfied.

Add Some Crunch
Avoid adding buttery croutons to your salad for a little bit of crunch. Add a little toasted walnuts, sliced almonds or sunflower seeds for a nutritious crunch to your salad. Be sure to use these ingredients sparingly. While they are packed with good nutrients, they are also high in calories.

Sprinkle on the Cheese
A little cheese can go a long way. Go for lower fat cheeses like goat, mozzarella and 2% cheddar cheese. Other tasty cheeses are bleu, feta, gorgonzola and parmesan. Keep your cheese to no more than 1 ounce or about the size of four dices. 

Dress it Up
Dressings can turn your nutritious salad into a nutrition nightmare. Your best bet is to make your own vinaigrette. Make your own vinaigrette by combining 1 part oil to 3 parts vinegar. Add mustard, garlic or fresh herbs for some flavor. Add no more than 2 tablespoons of dressing to your salad.

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Posted in: Cooking, Health and Wellness, Nutrition, Produce


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