Foodie Friday: Spring Forward With Sensational Salads

By Renee Covey, RD, LD, CDE

The season is upon us to lighten it up with fresh, colorful, delicious and nutritious salads.

The sky‘s the limit to building a salad that makes your taste buds water. Grocery store produce sections are alive with seasonal fruits and vegetables that beg to find their place in your salad. Not only do these foods provide a wide array of vitamins, minerals and fiber, they are rich in antioxidants that support optimal health.

Traditionally, salads have been a mainstay for weight loss because of the low caloric content and feeling of fullness they provide; however, they also have the benefit of being nutrient-dense, if you choose wisely.

How to Build a Sensational Salad:
  • Start with protein such as dried beans or legumes, hard boiled eggs, canned fish, grilled fish, chicken or seafood.
  • Remember salad is not just about the lettuce although there are many to choose from. Experiment especially with the darker color ones.
  • Add texture and flavor from a wide variety of fruits and vegetables that not only boost the nutritional value but make the salad more interesting.
  • Consider shredding carrots or cutting julienne strips of cucumbers, zucchini or yellow squash. Fresh berries, apple chunks, tender grapes or dried cherries or cranberries will add to the appearance as well as decrease the need for much dressing.
  • Preparing your own salad dressing avoids the less healthy ingredients of commercial oils, additives and preservatives.

The following recipes are just a start on your creativity for topping your salad sensationally!

Olive Oil and Lemon Juice Dressing
3 Tbs. lemon juice (one large lemon)
2 Tbs. olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Place salad in a bowl. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over the top and drizzle on the olive oil. Add salt and the pepper and toss.

Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
1 clove garlic, minced
½ cup buttermilk
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 scallion, finely minced
1 Tbs. fresh chopped dill
½ tsp. chopped fresh marjoram or herb of choice
2 Tbs. white wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Whisk all ingredients in a small bowl. This will stay fresh in refrigerator for one week.

Strawberry-Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette
1 cup strawberries
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1 Tbs. honey
½ cup olive oil or walnut oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Blend together the strawberries, vinegar and honey. While the blender is running, slowly drizzle in the oil until dressing is smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. This will stay fresh in refrigerator for one week.

For more healthy salad recipes, visit Gwinnett Medical Center's boards on Pinterest. 


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