As May comes to a close, it’s the perfect time to take advantage of this being National Salad Month. As the whether heats up, it’s normal to want to cool down with your food choices. Salads offer a nutrient-packed way to cool down while helping you pack in your daily fiber and vitamin needs. One of the reasons I love salads so much is that they offer constant variety. By changing the vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and protein options you incorporate, you can have an entirely new meal option each and every day.
All salads are not created equal, however. Some restaurant salads can pack in a full days worth of calories and sodium if you aren’t careful! Additives such as crunchy salad noodles, creamy dressings, cheese, and sugar coated nuts and fruit can drive the calorie content of your salad up while reducing the nutritional content. To gain all of the benefits of salads without unnecessary amounts of added sodium, sugar, or saturated fats, follow a few simple tips:
Top Tips for a Nutritious Salad
- Make the focus of your salad vegetables and fruits
- Choose to have your dressing on the side to control your portions
- Select a plant-based oil for your dressing, such as vinegar and olive oil, over a creamy variety
- Watch your toppings! Crunchy noodles, cheese, and candied nuts can add large amounts of calories, sugar, and fat. Opt instead of dry roasted nuts, seeds, and no-sugar-added dried fruit for a crunchy topping.
- Add protein. A veggie only salad will leave you hungry after a short period of time. By incorporating a protein choice such as grilled chicken or fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, or edamame, you can ensure you salad will keep you full for hours to come
Salads can include a variety of ingredients such as meat, nuts, vegetables and fruit and can be served as a lunch/dinner snack. Eating a salad is a great way to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your daily diet while also enjoying some of your favorite foods in one bowl. It can also increase your vitamins, minerals, fiber and protein intake as well as satisfying your appetite with a light and flavorful meal. So in honor of National Salad month, here’s three salad recipes that are simple, delicious and packed full of nutrients!
Strawberry Feta Salad
- 12-ounce package of Spring Mix (or your favorite leafy greens)
- 1 cup fresh strawberries, sliced
- 2-ounces crumbled feta cheese
- ¼ cup dried cranberries
- ½ cup walnuts, chopped
- ¼ cup Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing
- Wash spring mix and place in large bowl.
- Add strawberries, dried cranberries and walnuts. Mix well.
- Sprinkle feta cheese and dressing over salad and toss until evenly coated. Serve and enjoy!
Tropical Fruit Salad
- 1 cup pineapple, diced
- 1 medium apple, diced
- 1 papaya, seeds and scooped
- 2 tablespoons raw honey
- shredded coconut
- Cut fruit ingredients into bite sized pieces.
- Add cut fruit to large bowl and pour honey and shredded coconut on top.
- Mix well and enjoy!
Grape, Celery and Walnut Salad
- 2 cups seedless red grapes
- 3 celery stalks, washed and thinly sliced
- 1 cup walnuts, chopped
- 1/2 cup nonfat plain or vanilla yogurt
- In large mixing bowl combine red grapes, sliced celery, walnuts and yogurt. Mix until grapes and celery are evenly coated with yogurt. Add walnuts to the mix and stir until evenly coated or enjoy walnuts on top of salad.