Healthy Ways to Flavor Your Salad

What do you think of when someone says the word salad?

You might imagine a bowl of crispy greens with shredded carrots and peppers and other fresh ingredients hidden among the leaves.  At home and out at a restaurant salad bars, we easily create these healthy mixtures using a selection of vegetables and fruits.  But what happens when our favorite dressings and toppings are added for flavor?

Keeping that salad healthy may take our careful attention.  If it often those extra ingredients we use such as salad dressings, cheese, croutons, meats, nuts, seeds, and dried fruits that add the extra salt, sugar, fat and calories. If we are not careful of our ingredient choices and food portions, a healthy salad can quickly become an unhealthy surprise!

To keep that salad healthy, try these flavoring suggestions:
  • Low fat or fat free salad dressings.  Buy or make your own vinaigrette using oil, vinegar and your favorite herbs.  They are easy to make, and low in calories and cost.
  • Low fat cheese adds mild and strong flavors.  Sprinkle just a little.  These flavors can go a long way.
  • Lightly salted/unsalted nuts and seeds.  These add protein and a surprise crunch, but not a lot of salt.
  • Low fat croutons.  Buy them or toast your own so you can control the salt and fat.
  • Dried fruit such as raisins, cranberries, and blueberries can help sweeten your mixture, and encourage your child to eat more salad.  Add lightly.
Adding a salad to your lunch or dinner is an easy way to get another serving of fruits or vegetables into your day.  Enjoy your favorite salad mixture.  Keep it healthy by choosing your flavorings carefully.

Try this easy salad dressing recipe!

Zesty Herb Salad Dressing

1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
2 Tablespoons vinegar
1/3 cup tomato or orange juice
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt

Put all ingredients in a jar or bottle with a lid.  Put on the lid, shake well.  Chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before serving.

Nutrition Facts:  Serving Size: 2 Tablespoons,  Calories: 35, Total Fat: 3 grams, Sodium 115 mg, Total Carbohydrates: 2 grams.


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© Eat Smart, Be Fit Maryland!Maira Gall