Take a refreshing salad on the go – without the mess!
Hello, and welcome to For the Love of Food! I’m Jen Davis a registered dietitian here in Wellsboro, Pennsylvania.
The other day, I went for a walk downtown, and I saw that the Wellsboro Grower’s Market was starting up its new season! How exciting! I started thinking about all the fresh, locally grown vegetables and herbs that I bought last summer.
Let’s talk about building a healthy salad!
Meals should be visually appealing-so think color! But, we also want to make them nutrient-dense.
The new Healthy Style Eating Pattern Guideline, put out by USDA for 2015-2020, recommends to include a variety of vegetables, fruits, grains, low-fat dairy, protein foods and oils from plants into your diet.
So, keeping this in mind, let’s build a salad!
1. First, build a base; dark leafy greens, spinach, arugula, kale, and romaine. The darker the better. These contain fiber, calcium and compounds called phytonutrients that help lower inflammation.
2. Next layer; choose 3-4 veggies like broccoli, onions, tomatoes, carrots, cucumber, and peppers. Recommendation is 2.5 cup-equivalents of vegetables per day (2000-calorie level). 1 cup raw or 2 cups lettuce = 1cup equivalent
3. Now let’s add some fruit! Strawberries, mandarin orange, berries, or apple slices! You would be surprised at what fruit can add to the taste of your salad, not to mention a splash of color that is very appetizing. Fruit provides nutrients like dietary fiber, potassium and vitamin C. Be mindful of the portion size when using dried fruits like raisins. ¼ cup = ½ cup equivalent. Recommendation for fruit intake is 2 cup equivalents per day (2000-calorie level).
4. Next is Protein. Protein provides nutrients like B vitamins and phosphorus. Protein takes longer to digest, so it keeps you full longer. It is higher in calories than veggies, so go easy on them. Recommendation is 5.5 ounce equivalents of protein foods per day (2000-calorie level). ½ oz. nuts or seeds= 1 oz.
5. Final step is to add the dressing. Some ideas include lemon juice, herbs, salsa, and homemade olive oil-balsamic vinegar dressing. Dr. Furhman and Pinterest are a couple of websites that have salad dressing recipes. If you decide to use a bottled dressing, read the label for serving size. It is usually 2 tablespoons.
A creative way to take salad just about anywhere is to use a mason jar! Start with wettest ingredients and work towards driest. A creation of beauty! When you are ready, just shake it upside down a few times and eat it right out of the jar! So, next time you need to pack a meal for away from home, think salad in a jar. Thanks for joining me today on For the Love of Food. See you next time, right here on WHP.