What’s the number one food lacking in the average American’s diet? Veggies!
One simple and delicious way to change that is by adding salad to your menu 3-5 times per week. But lest you fear that you’ll tire of the same old bag of salad every time, here are 4 tips to turn your so-so salad into spectacular.
Vary the texture:
- Crisp: fresh greens and vegetables such as carrots, cucumbers, apples, onions and peppers provide a refreshing crisp texture.
- Creamy: hearts of palm, avocados, cheeses such as fresh mozzarella, cottage cheese or blue cheese add a nice contrast to the crisp texture. Avocados are my favorite creamy salad addition and not only do they provide good fats, but about 20 vitamins and minerals in a 50 calorie, 1/5 wedge of avocado. Look for California avocados to be in season now through September, and don't forget to "nick and peel" instead of scooping it out so that you get all the wonderful nutrition hiding just below the peel in that dark green layer.
- Crunchy: nuts, seeds, croutons, can all provide that hard crunchy variation to a salad. (My favorites are pepitas and fried garlic)
- Burst-texture (somewhat soft but not creamy): Peas, tomatoes, olives, grapes, pomegranate seeds
Vary the flavors:
- If your salad is mainly bitter greens, then balance it out with a milder creamy element such as tofu or cheese and then round it out with a little mango or sliced strawberry.
- The variety of flavors should arise mainly from the ingredients of the salad, not the dressing. Keep the dressing light so that you can enjoy the fresh flavors of the fruits and veggies.
- Don’t be a one-trick pony when it comes to flavoring your salad. Ranch is ok once in a while, but mix it up. Don’t stick with just one flavor (for example, a green salad with sliced red onion, scallions and an onion-based vinaigrette is too much of a good thing). Try onions on a salad with orange vinaigrette, or try an onion dressing on a salad made up of greens, black beans and corn.
Vary the nutrients:
- A combination of vegetables & fruits with some protein and a heart healthy fat make for not only a delicious but satisfying salad.
- Adding tuna, diced chicken, hard-boiled egg, beans or low-fat cheese ups the nutritional factor and turns a side-salad into a main course.
- Avocados, nuts and heart-healthy oil dressings such as olive or sesame round out the nutrition of a healthy salad.
Vary the presentation:
- Edible bowl – try serving your salad in a radicchio or butter lettuce leaf
- Stack it up – layer sliced veggies and drizzle with a light dressing
- Grab a goblet – serve salad in a cocktail glass or sundae dish.
Keeping salad fresh, varied and exciting will motivate you to keep it in your menu and your health will thank you for it.
For more avocado information and recipes: http://www.californiaavocado.com