The middle of the summer is the best time to celebrate our local produce. As farm stands fill their carts and Hannaford highlights local harvests, we have the opportunity to enjoy truly fresh fruits and vegetables. If you are supporting local farmers, part of a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) system, or growing your own garden full of veggies, then you know that the summer season encourages better produce intake and the likelihood that salad is either taking center stage on your plate or that salad is your whole plate.
I applaud your choice to eat a salad for lunch or dinner, but if it leaves you hungry and searching for more then it hasn’t quite done its job. There are some essential components to ensuring that your entrée salad is both nourishing and satisfying.
Not only because we eat with our eyes first, but also because color is health. With enough color, we don’t need to rely on a multivitamin to meet our micronutrient needs. The many colors found in our produce represent different antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. So, with the rainbow as your guide, seek salads full of color.
Protein is an essential component of an entrée salad. Choose the perfect protein that fits your preference or the theme of your salad. Pass on protein, and your salad won’t likely hold you for as long as you expect it to. Make this easy by using leftovers, beans, tofu, part-skim cheese, hard-boiled eggs, and other convenient options.
Just as with protein, fat is needed for satiety. However, unlike the way we select protein we are likely to add a serving of fat in the dressing we choose. I suggest going beyond salad dressing and using nuts, seeds, olives, and avocado as healthful fat choices.
This brings our conversation back to where we started. When fresh fruits and vegetables abound, we can use them to make a creative salad that we are excited to enjoy. Grilled vegetables add a nice texture, while fresh fruit brings sweetness and crunch. Cut kernels off a cob of corn and combine it with beans and avocado to make a quick salsa to lay over greens. Or maybe even prepare a grilled cheese sandwich to cut into cubes for unique croutons. The possibilities are endless, but one thing for sure is that anything goes, so use your refrigerator for inspiration and add whatever works!
As your local Hannaford Dietitian, I’m pleased to be sharing my advice and simple tips. Please visit www.hannaford.com/dietitians for my in-store schedule of classes, demonstrations, and store tours, or call (845) 855-0553 for more information.
Dill & Feta Tomato Salad
The perfect salad for fresh summer tomatoes and herbs! This Guiding Stars-rated recipe is a perfect side dish, or add extra greens and grilled chicken to turn it into a meal. Please visit www.guidingstars.com for more on the Guiding Stars nutrition guidance program.
1 clove garlic, minced
2 T. red wine vinegar
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 red onion, sliced
1 lb. tomatoes, cubed
1 red bell pepper, chunked
1 cucumber (thinly sliced)
1/2 c. kalamata olives, pitted
1 bunch dill, chopped
1 bunch mint, chopped
1/2 c. low-sodium feta cheese
Whisk together garlic, vinegar, and oil.
Combine remaining ingredients, and gently toss with dressing.