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A delicious start to the new year

Published 5:23pm Saturday, December 28, 2013

Have you been thinking about a New Year’s resolution?

Many say “I will start eating better” as a New Year’s resolution, but what is the first step?  Here’s a trick to make eating better actually happen: Start with a simple goal.

One thing I often recommend to clients who want to feel better and eat healthier is to eat a salad each day filled with colorful fruits and vegetables.

You may not think of combining fruits with a salad full of vegetables, but let me tell you, it really adds a lot of flavor. Plus, you could really get to your daily goal for fruits and vegetables just by doing this one simple thing.  Many of us love routines, in which we do something each day that provides a certain rhythm to our day. Eating a salad daily can be part of that routine.

It’s a simple way to have a positive impact on our health and make that resolution happen.

To make this goal a reality, it is necessary to start by stocking your home for health. If you have the ingredients on hand at all times, you will accomplish what you set out to do. Here are a few key ingredients to have on hand:

Salad greens: The darker and greener, the more nutritious. Darker salad greens are higher in vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C, folate, calcium and manganese which help support eye health, healthy bones and the immune system.  Choosing darker salad greens is an easy way to create a more nutritious salad that also offers more flavor.

Kale is one of the most nutritious greens (along with spinach and romaine lettuce).  Kale has curly leaves and can be purchased as a bunch; it is now available in bagged salads so there is no added preparation. If purchasing a bunch, rip the leaves from the stalk and wash under cold water. The stalk can be discarded and the leaves torn into bite-sized pieces.

Try massaged kale. In large serving bowl, add one bunch of kale (washed, removed from stalks and torn into bite-sized pieces), the juice of a freshly squeezed lemon, a drizzle of olive oil and a small pinch of salt. Massage until the kale starts to soften, wilt and turn bright green, about one to two minutes.

Fruit or vegetables: One of my favorite salads I ate nearly every day for about seven years was one that included honeydew melon, cantaloupe and grapes on top of a bowl of spinach with peas, cucumbers and cherry tomatoes.  It was colorful, which definitely appeals to the appetite, and full of texture and good flavor. Every time you add a fruit or another vegetable to a salad, you are simply boosting its goodness.

 Dressing: A light drizzle or side of dressing will add just the right amount of flavor.  Check out light versions or new dressings made with yogurt.  But don’t skip the dressing, because a little fat in the dressing actually helps you absorb vitamins A, D, E and K.

Protein: From hard-boiled eggs to nuts to seeds to lean cooked chicken, shrimp, pork or beef, protein is a must on a salad to keep you fuller longer.  There are so many options, you can’t get bored. Mix and match your salad ingredients to create the ultimate salad.  Maybe you will find one you would eat for seven years straight, like I did. Happy New Year.

Mix and match to create the perfect salad

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