This week is National Salad Week, and what better time to talk about the nutrients in our greens. Many Americans prefer lettuce salads as their vegetable servings at lunch or dinner. While leafy greens are known for their nutrient-dense properties, some of the other items we add to salads can add extra calories and fat. But, don’t worry! The Iowa Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has you covered to make sure your salads are full of flavor and nutrients to fuel you this summer. Try out each of the tips below to make the most of National Salad Week!
Top your salad with flavor (and nutrients):
Adding toppings to our salad will increase eye appeal and flavor. Top your salad with one serving of protein to increase satiety after your salad. These may include grilled chicken, baked salmon, a packet of tuna, deli turkey, cottage cheese, chickpeas or tofu. Do you crave crunch on your greens? Try topping your salad with shaved almonds, sunflower kernels or shredded carrots instead of energy-dense croutons.
Experiment with herbs:
Sprinkle parsley, oregano, garlic, basil, chives, rosemary or other fresh herbs onto your green
salad. Or, make a simple vinaigrette with olive oil and kick up the flavor by adding a variety of herbs. Using more herbs can add flavor without extra calories and increases our intake of
antioxidants, which may help to decrease our risk of chronic illness.
Rethink your dressing:
Let’s be honest- sometimes when dining out we tend to have salad with our dressing, instead of the opposite. Typically, one serving of salad dressing is two tablespoons; however, some restaurants serve customers with up to 1/3 cup of dressing on their salads. Consider trying cottage cheese or salsa in place of salad dressing. When searching for store-bought dressings, purchase vinaigrette as cream-based dressings tend to be higher in saturated fats. Also, see below for a delicious vinaigrette dressing to try out for dinner this week!
Chopped Greek Salad with Chicken
Serves 4 (3 cups each)
⅓ cup red-wine vinegar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill, or oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
1 teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
6 cups chopped romaine lettuce
2 1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken, (about 12 ounces; see Tip)
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
½ cup finely chopped red onion
½ cup sliced ripe black olives
½ cup crumbled feta cheese
Whisk vinegar, oil, dill (or oregano), garlic powder, salt and pepper in a large bowl.
Add lettuce, chicken, tomatoes, cucumber, onion, olives and feta; toss to coat.
Place boneless, skinless chicken breasts in a medium skillet or saucepan. Add lightly salted water (or chicken broth) to cover and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer gently until the chicken is cooked through and no longer pink in the middle, 10 to 15 minutes.
Tip: If you don't have cooked chicken, poach 1 pound chicken breasts for this recipe.
Nutrition Facts per serving:
343 calories; 18.5 g total fat; 4.7 g saturated fat; 89 mg cholesterol;
581 mg sodium. 659 mg potassium; 11.1 g carbohydrates; 3 g fiber; 5 g sugar; 31.1 g protein; 6798 IU vitamin a iu; 14 mg vitamin c; 126 mcg folate; 148 mg calcium; 2 mg iron; 54 mg magnesium.
Blog Provided by Allysa Ballantini, MPP-D, RD, LD