As spring transitions into summer this month, we have a variety of colorful, seasonal produce available to spruce up our salads. Salads are a great option that pack a large amount of nutrients into a single meal, but if the salad is the main course, be sure to follow these tips to ensure it is both nutrient-packed and satiating!
1. Make it colorful:
Plants contain phytonutrients, also known as phytochemicals; these contain an array of health benefits, including antioxidative properties. Plants of differing colors contain different types of phytonutrients, providing a wide variety of colors in our diet allows for diversity of phytonutrients; ultimately providing an expanded array of health benefits.
2. Make your protein accessible
You certainly want to include protein into your salad, but protein doesn’t have to be complicated. Using convenient foods such as canned tuna or tuna from a pouch, chicken or salad from last night’s dinner, or even a plant based, complete protein such as edamame.
3. Include your whole grain or starch
Including a whole grain or a starch, like potatoes, increases the available nutrients, while also allowing for it to serve as a complete meal to increase the satiety level.
4. Your dressing does more than just enhance the flavor
Salad dressings are commonly written off as an unhealthy addition to a salad; however, salad dressings are an important component. The dressing enhances the flavor, making the nutrient packed salad more enjoyable. That reason alone is enough to continue using your favorite dressing; however, beyond that, it does serve a nutritional purpose. Salad dressings are typically higher in calories because they are higher in fat. Monounsaturated fat, or the “healthy fat,” is a necessary additive in a nutrient packed meal. Vitamins A, D, E, and K all rely on fat for absorption in the body.
June produce in season: apricots, avocado, beets, bell peppers, blackberries, blueberries, cherries, cucumbers, grapes, green beans, kale, mango, peaches, peas, plums, radishes, raspberries, rhubarb, spring greens, strawberries
Ingredients for salad:
• 5 medium red-skinned potatoes
• 4 hard boiled eggs, sliced
• 2 pounds of trimmed green beans
• 4 stalks of celery slices
• 6-8 radishes, sliced
• 1 pint of halved cherry tomatoes
• 3 7oz cans of drained tuna
• 10 sliced, large, black olives
• 1 large red onion, sliced
• 1/3 c chopped parsley
• 2 tbs chopped fresh basil
Ingredients for dressing:
• 4 tsp Dijon mustard
• ½ c wine vinegar
• ¾ c olive oil
• ½ tsp crushed black pepper
• 2 tsp chopped thyme
1. Boil potatoes until tender; once cooled, slice in rounds
2. Blanch the green beans
3. Chop and slice produce
4. Combine dressing ingredients
5. Assemble the salad
Note: can replace eggs and/or tuna with edamame for protein