Salads Reinvented


It’s all about simplicity, one bowl, all the fixin’s for hearty and satisfying goodness. I love experimenting with new ingredients and finding fresh ideas, and what’s fresher than a salad? They transport well when I’m on the go, and help me get closer to my 5-a-day servings of fruits and vegetables. When I build salads I like to include vegetables (duh!), but also carbohydrates and protein so that my body feels at it’s best. Here are my tips for reinventing the traditional salad.

-Turn your favorite sandwich into a salad. Why not go for an avocado BLT salad or hot ham and cheese salad? Talk about hearty and delicious!
-Dress it up with homemade dressings. Find recipe inspiration using fresh ingredients like avocado, pesto, lime, lemon, beans (hummus), and balsamic vinegar.
-Feel fresh with herbs. Basil, thyme, dill, chives, mint, parsley, and cilantro make excellent salad toppings. To me, this is what takes a salad up a notch; it makes a big taste difference.
-Mix up the lettuce. Add interest to your salad by using a lettuce combo. Choose from bibb, arugula, spinach, red leaf, green leaf, romaine, and the list goes on.
-Toss on the grain. Don’t forget about the complex carbs for sustainable energy. No longer is a salad simply greens, add couscous, quinoa, brown rice, or barley!
-Surprise your taste buds with out-of-the-ordinary toppings like beets, mango, pomegranate seeds, sun dried tomatoes and purple cabbage.
-Add crunch with pecans, almonds, raw pumpkin seeds, or even chips and granola!
-Be grilled. Try grilling a robust head of lettuce like romaine, and chopping it in a warm salad with grilled chicken or salmon and roasted sweet potatoes!
-Up your veggie servings with shredded zucchini, squash, eggplant, and carrots.
-Berry me, please. Talk about yummy… blue, black, or red berries add a pop of color on a salad and a burst of flavor in your mouth.
-Load up on beans. An easy way to add protein and fiber to your salad, as well as some chew and creaminess! I’m partial to chickpeas.
-Eggs. Scrambled, poached, hard boiled, however ya like ‘em for protein that can help to keep you full and satisfied for longer.
-Burrito your bowl. Mexican style salads have all the comfort, but more fresh vegetables just in time for summer. Layer up your bowl with lettuce, beans, avocado, corn, rice, cilantro, green onions, dressed with lime wedges and low-fat plain greek yogurt (it tastes like sour cream, but it’s lower in fat!).
-Change up the cheese. Here’s a way to venture from your norm, instead of using the familiar favorites, go with goat, feta, havarti, or blue.

Tara Collingwood
Tara is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition, fitness, and health promotion and is quoted in a variety of media including television, radio, newspapers, magazines, and websites.

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