5 simple steps to power up your summer salads

Published 9:29 am Saturday, May 26, 2018

May is National Salad Month, making it a great time to give your salads a powerful boost by choosing nutrient-rich ingredients.  Salads don’t have to be boring, tasteless diet foods.  With the right base, toppings and dressing they can be main-dish stars or sides your friends and family will go crazy over.

1. Choose a powerhouse green for the base.  Kale and spinach are two great options, offering up loads of vitamins and minerals.  However, if you prefer milder lettuces like romaine and iceberg, give butter lettuce a try.  It is loaded with vitamins and minerals, and offers sweet tender leaves that need very little dressing to be enjoyed.  Butter, Bibb and Boston are all part of the Butterhead variety and can be used interchangeably.  Go for color.  The pigments that make mangos orange and blueberries blue are actually powerful antioxidants that help protect the body from disease and damage.  A colorful salad will provide a wide variety of nutrition; and it will be more appealing to the eyes!

2. Power up with lean protein.  Emerging research supports protein timing.  Consuming 25 to 30 grams of protein at each meal throughout the day can help with fullness and weight control.  A three-ounce portion of fish, beef, chicken, pork or turkey will provide around 25 grams of filling protein.

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3. Add a healthy crunch.  Instead of croutons and bacon bits, opt for nuts and seeds.  What nuts lack in protein, they make up for in nutrition.  Pumpkin seeds (pepitas) and almonds are top food sources for magnesium, a mineral many people are deficient in.

4. Dress for success.  Your dressing can make or break your salad when it comes to the final calorie count.  Salad dressings can range from 25 to 240 calories per two-tablespoon serving.  Bolthouse Farms dressings taste great, and are all under 45 calories per serving.

Tropical Cucumber Salad

Serves 4 (about 1 cup each)

All you need

•3 to 5 tsp fish sauce, to taste

•1 tsp freshly grated lime zest, plus more for garnish

•2 tbsp lime juice

•1 tbsp canola oil

•2 tsp light brown sugar

•1 tsp rice vinegar

•1/4 tsp crushed red pepper

•1 medium English cucumber, cut into 3/4-inch dice

•1 avocado, peeled, pitted and cut into 3/4-inch dice

•1 mango, peeled, pitted and cut into 3/4-inch dice

•1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

All you do

Whisk fish sauce to taste, lime zest, lime juice, oil, brown sugar, vinegar and crushed red pepper in a large bowl until combined. Add cucumber, avocado, mango and cilantro; gently toss to coat. Serve garnished with lime zest, if desired.

Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 hour.

Tip: To dice a mango, slice both ends off the mango, revealing the long, slender seed inside. Set the fruit upright on a work surface and remove the skin with a sharp knife. With the seed perpendicular to you, slice the fruit from both sides of the seed, yielding two large pieces. Turn the seed parallel to you and slice the two smaller pieces of fruit from each side. Cut the fruit into the desired shape.

Nutrition Facts per serving: 169 calories, 11g fat, 1g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 302mg sodium, 19g carbohydrates, 5g fiber, 3g protein.

Daily values: 15% vitamin A, 45% vitamin C, 2% iron.

Source: adapted from Eating Well, Inc.

The information is not intended as medical advice.   Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.