The summer season offers up a beautiful bounty of some of the most flavorful and nutritious fruits and vegetables. With such a plethora of fresh produce to choose from, salads are a quick, simple and satisfying way to experience a wide variety of summer’s finest foods. Whether you love them tossed, chopped or layered, for an energizing lunch, complementary side dish, or light supper, deciding what delicious ingredients to use for your salad is part of the fun! When you get creative, make healthy choices, and combine a variety of colors, tastes and textures, you can enjoy spectacular salads all summer long.
- Get Green
Building your salad on a bed of healthy greens is an easy way to get the most nutritional value out of your salad. With at least 13 different flavonoid compounds and almost 200% of the daily value of vitamin K in one cup of fresh spinach leaves, spinach salads are incredibly healthy. Another great choice when it comes to salad greens? Classic Romaine. It is an excellent source of Vitamin A, and a very good source of fiber!
- Think Lean
Make salads more substantial by adding cooked and diced lean meats such as chicken breast or turkey. They are full of flavor and excellent sources of protein. Four ounces of chicken provide more than 67% of the daily value for protein, while turkey is believed to contain nutrients that can help protect against cancer.
- Go Nuts!
Excellent sources of omega-3 essential fatty acids, walnuts are a favorite when chopped and sprinkled into salads because they provide more than just a satisfying crunch and interesting texture. Offering numerous health benefits, walnuts are good for your heart and contain an antioxidant compound called ellagic acid, which appears to have anticancer properties and can also help support the immune system.
- Dress Up
Homemade dressings are healthy, easy to make, and a great way to experiment with flavorful vinegars, herbs and seasonings. Vinaigrettes made with extra-virgin olive oil are simply luxurious tossed with or drizzled over lettuce. Rich in beneficial Monounsaturated Fats, olive oil can be blended with balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar, champagne vinegar and other varieties to compose a dressing that is truly unique. When you’re whisking up some tantalizing vinaigrette, adding finely diced fresh herbs is a great way to infuse your salad with eve more flavor.
- Pack It With Produce
Variety is the spice of life, and adding your favorite seasonal fruits and vegetables is a simple way to keep your salads interesting, and full of flavor. Try some of these peak-of-the-season picks!
Corn — A good source of dietary fiber, Folate and other nutrients, kernels of freshly roasted summer corn scraped from the cob and added to salads lend a scrumptious, sweet and smoky flavor.
Broccoli — A terrific summertime veggie, broccoli florets add a robust flavor and distinctive texture to a veggie salad, in addition to tremendous amounts of nutrients. Containing the phytonutrient Sulforaphane, broccoli is believed to have significant anti-cancer effects.
Raspberries — Raspberries are an excellent source of Vitamin C and Manganese, and are high in Antioxidants. They are wonderful sprinkled into salads for a sweet, juicy flavor that complements many savory salad ingredients. If you are preparing a salad of fresh, ripe and juicy summer fruits for a healthy snack or dessert, the sweet-tart taste of raspberries should always be showcased!