Nutrition Notes: Savvy Summer Salads

by Jenna Olson, RD Nutrition & Wellness Educator

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Hot summer nights call for a quick and easy meal to keep you cool, hydrated and satiated. With many different fruits and vegetables in season during the summer months, it is the perfect time to experiment with the flavors of your local farmers market to create fun new salads! This summer try something new! Instead of settling for the same old greens topped with dressing, try a few of the following ideas to inspire a new and improved salad!

1. Make it a Meal: Salads are often paired with an entrée as a side dish, but there are many ways to beef up a salad to make it more filling and serve as the main dish. Try adding a protein source like meat, eggs or beans along with a healthy fat such as avocado slices or a handful of nuts. Always try to include as many colors as you can with your salad. The different colors represent different nutrients, so the more colors the better!

2. Downsize on the Dressing: When deciding on a dressing, the decision can either make or break your healthy salad. Even choices such as olive oil can quickly add up too since each tablespoon has about 120 calories. Try making your own dressing like the ones here. Another option is to keep it simple by using a few of these options to flavor your salads: a scoop of hummus, salsa, flavored vinegars, garlic, or lemon or orange juice. Watching your waistline? Put dressing on the side that way you can dip your fork in the dressing with each bite of salad, so you will get a taste of dressing while sparing some extra calories.

3. Change it Up: People can get bored with the same old salad routine. Jazz it up a bit by incorporating a different vegetable or new salad greens. You can also try a grain-based salad with extra fruit and vegetables. Consider grilling a few different fruits and vegetables and tossing them into your salads as well.

Salad creation can be described as an ever-changing culinary art form, so don’t let your usual salad routine get you in a rut! These nutrient-packed powerhouses can leave you satisfied for hours and can be a fun family activity during the creation process. Try a few of the recipes below and see what new recipes you can create in the kitchen!

Mason Jar Salads                                 Quinoa Veggie Salad

Curried Waldorf Salad                         Summer Salad Ideas with Fruit

Do you have a favorite salad recipe that you have been making this summer? Share a picture of your recipe or colorful salad with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram!