Make it Bright: It’s a Great Time to Reach for Salads!

appetizer-bell-peppers-cilantro-128391Now that it’s really springtime, it’s time to add some color to your meals. Break some rules!

“It’s a great time to reach for salads,” said Ozella Jones, Nutritionist at Swope Health Services. “I like to encourage using leftovers in salads and making a bright salad.”

She recommends using leftovers in salad, even though they might not be traditional salad fare. For example, leftover green beans, peas, corn or beets make great additions to a green salad.

Cut up with some onions and red, green or yellow peppers and toss with some oil and vinegar, and you’ve got a brand new healthy salad.

Salad making is one place where you can safely experiment and make something that’s filled with your favorites. Do you like blueberries? Go ahead, put them in the salad with anything else you like.

Using leftovers is a great way to avoid wasting food and also an easy way to add nutrition. That ½ cup of leftover peas isn’t really enough for another meal, but it will provide 4 grams of protein and only 67 calories, she said. If you toss it in with lettuce, carrots, onions and whatever else you like, suddenly you’ve got a very tasty and nutritious salad.

“If it looks good, bright and colorful, you are more likely to try it,” she said. “I want you to feel good about your food and try foods that are healthy for you.”

If salad’s just not your thing, consider smoothies as a way to enjoy fruits and vegetables. “Strawberries are a good source of Vitamin C, and blueberries are a great way to get antioxidants,” she said.

Spring vegetables, like asparagus, are plentiful now. Just one cup of asparagus provides a low 32 calories along with plenty of Vitamin C and D, she said. You can also get vitamins from herbs, like basil. Just adding fresh basil leaves to your meal adds color and flavor, as well as potassium and Vitamin C.

For a main dish that might be a little bit lighter fare, try fish. Ozella recommends halibut and salmon, even canned tuna in water, as options offering the good kind of unsaturated fat – Omega 3.

“It’s time to break away from bland,” she recommends. “Go for color! Use what you like and make it attractive.”

Are you interested in learning more about your own nutrition? SHS Providers can refer patients for nutrition consultation. Ask your SHS provider at your next appointment.

Rainbow Fresh Chopped Salad

Prefer Following a Recipe? Here’s an easy one from Colorful Recipes:

INGREDIENTS

Salad
  • Mixed Greens – 2 cups.
  • Chicken – Rotisserie, ½ cup, chopped.
  • Chickpeas or Garbanzo beans – ½ cup, drained from can.
  • Cherry Tomatoes – ½ cup, halved.
  • Snacking Cucumbers – 2, sliced.
  • Sweet Peppers – ¾ cup, chopped.
  • Red Onion – ¼ cup, chopped.
  • Avocado – ½, chopped.
  • Artichoke Hearts – ½ cup, quartered.
  • Fetta – ¼ cup, crumbled.
  • Cilantro – to taste, chopped.
Simple Dressing
  • Lemon – ½ or to taste, juiced.
  • Olive Oil – to taste.
  • Freshly Cracked Pepper – to taste.
  • Sea Salt – to taste.
 INSTRUCTIONS
  1. In a serving dish, lay the mixed greens in a flat layer.
  2. Arrange the remaining salad ingredients on top of the greens in sections as desired.
  3. Top off with chopped cilantro and dressing ingredients.
  4. Enjoy! 🙂