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Kaylor: Embrace different salad varieties

By Staff | Jul 18, 2014

Any way you toss it, a main dish green salad is an easy, nutritious meal – especially on a hot summer’s night. National Salad Week is July 25-31, and summer is a great time to fill up – and not out – on fruits and veggies in a lightly dressed salad! Check out these tips on how to make salads spectacular this summer.

Tips for nutritious and delicious salads

Growing greens: Salad greens are easy to grow in the home garden and an important source of vitamins and minerals. Dark green leaves are good sources of vitamins A and C, iron, folic acid and calcium. Iceberg is the most popular, but many other lettuces and salad greens such as spinach, arugula, and romaine can add interest and nutrients to meals.

Super salad toppers: There are lots of nutritious ways to top a salad. Enhance eye appeal and nutrition by adding colorful fruits and vegetables. Keep it light by limiting the amount of salad dressing to about 1 tablespoon per 1 to 2 cups of greens. Make the flavor pop by adding artichoke hearts, dried fruits, nuts, and/or seeds.

Keep fruit from browning: Keep cut fruits, like apples and pears, from turning brown by coating them with an acidic juice such as lemon, orange or pineapple juice. Cut fruits as close to serving time as possible. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Refrigerate cut fruits and veggies so the total time at room temperature is less than 2 hours.

Fresh herbs: Toss small basil leaves or chopped larger ones in with your greens. Try chopped fresh dill. Add some minced chives or parsley. Start with about a teaspoon of herbs per person and adjust according to taste preference. Herbs boost flavor without increasing calories.

Kabob kickers: Try kicking up your salad by adding kabobs! Including protein-rich foods helps promote a feeling of fullness after meals and may help you eat fewer calories throughout the day. Kabobs with grilled chicken, beef or pork with a combination of vegetables such as peppers, onions and zucchini would be the perfect topper for a mixed green salad.

Food safety with salads: Summer is a great time for salads and it’s important to store leafy greens at refrigerator temperatures and rinse well under running water before using. To reduce the risk of foodborne illness, observe “use by” dates printed on bagged leafy vegetables and salad mixes and use within two days after opening.

Remember to dress, don’t drown, your salad in dressing to keep the calories lower and experiment with different combinations and flavors this summer.

– Lisa Franzen-Castle, PhD, RD, Nebraska Extension Nutrition Specialist


1 cup mayonnaise

cup white sugar

1 tablespoon white vinegar

1 tablespoon poppy seeds

1 head iceberg lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces

1 bunch fresh spinach, washed, stems removed

cup diced red onion

1 (16 ounce) package fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced

Make a dressing by whisking together the mayonnaise, sugar and vinegar in a small bowl. Stir in the poppy seeds; set aside. Toss together the lettuce, spinach and onion in a large bowl. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss to coat. Add the strawberries and lightly toss again. Serve immediately.

– Allrecipes.com

– Report compiled by Carolee Kaylor, Family Nutrition Program, NDSU Extension Service Pierce County

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