Salads are a great way to add satisfying flavor and versatility to a healthy eating plan. In fact, research has shown that salad eaters take in greater amounts of essential nutrients such as vitamins C and E and folic acid. The key to a nutritious salad is to build it wisely by choosing healthy ingredients from the bottom up.
Salad Makings: Choose Wisely, Each salad topping has unique benefits, so it’s important to build a nutritious salad using a variety of fruits, vegetables and nuts.
• Darker salad greens contain the antioxidant beta-carotene, which battles certain cancers, and folic acid, which helps tissues grow. Most salad greens are also sources of vitamin C, potassium and fiber.
• Tomatoes and cherries are loaded with potassium and lycopene which helps protect against heart disease and cancer.
• Carrots, yellow peppers and pineapple contain carotenoids, which reduce the risk of developing cancer.
• Pecans are loaded with more than 19 vitamins and minerals, packed with disease-fighting antioxidants and they’re a great source of protein. In addition, medical research suggests eating pecans may help reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol.
• Blueberries and raisins are full of phytonutrients and antioxidants, which help protect from some cancers and infections. They also boost brain health and vision.
Dressing for (Dietary) Success:
What many people don’t know is that salad dressings, like their vegetable, fruit and nut peers, provide important health benefits. Research has also shown the healthy oils in salad dressings help the body absorb key nutrients such as lycopene and alpha- and beta-carotene. Plus, the majority of salad dressings are free of trans fats.
These easy recipes bring flavor and nutrition to your salad bowl. For more on salads and dressings, visit www.saladaday.org and www.dressingssauces.org. For more about pecans, visit www.ilovepecans.org. ©2009 Family Features Editorial Syndicate, Inc.
Romaine, Pecan and Pear Salad Yield: 6 servings -
• 6 cups Romaine lettuce, washed and torn
• 1 cup radicchio, washed and torn
• 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
• 2 shallots, thinly sliced
• 2 Bosc pears, thinly sliced
• 1 cup pecans
• 3/4 cup dried cherries
• 1/4 cup raspberry or red winevinaigrette dressing
• 1/3 cup feta cheese, optional
Place Romaine, radicchio, parsley and shallots in large bowl and toss gently.
Arrange pears, pecans and dried cherries on greens.
Pour dressing over salad and toss. Top with feta cheese, if desired. Dressing may be passed separately.