Perk Up A Boring Salad

Are you committed to eating healthier, but getting tired of the same old leafy green salads?  Here are some tips and tricks to perk up your same old salad and give your taste-buds a wake-up call.

Most salads are based on some sort of green leaf, a few other vegetables and some dressing.  By adding fruits, dairy products or protein you can make your salad into an entire meal, and add texture and taste.  Berries of all kinds are a great addition to traditional salads as they provide color, more nutrients, an interesting flavor and a little sweetness without adding sugar.  Try strawberries with spinach leaves, raspberries with romaine, and blueberries with a romaine, arugula and watercress mixture.

Dairy products can be introduced into your salad in the form of cubed or grated low-fat cheese, or by using yogurt dressings. Yogurt is a good replacement for higher fat sour cream or mayonnaise, and adds an interesting tangy flavor to dressings.  Yogurt contains calcium and healthy bacteria to help your digestive system work better.  You can use a pinch of curry or chili powder and a tsp of lime juice to make a dressing with a bite to it.  If you like garlic, try adding 1 tsp of crushed garlic and 1 tbsp of fresh basil leaves to a cup of plain non fat yogurt for a delicious creamy Italian style salad dressing.

Adding lean protein can elevate a salad from a side dish to an entree. Shredded pork, beef,grilled fish or chicken are all excellent choices, and a good way to use up leftover meats from barbecues or dinners earlier in the week.  Be sure to cook the meat well prior to adding it to your salad, and to either shred it or slice it very thinly.  Don’t be afraid to experiment; often salad entrees that include chicken can easily be made with grilled pork or fish instead.  For an unusual dish that is healthy, low-fat and kid friendly, try a chicken grape salad recipe.  Grapes are wonderful fruits for salads with protein as their flavor melds well with cooked chicken or grilled salmon. Protein can also be added by including nuts such as walnuts, peanuts, pecans, and almonds.  Try some toasted flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, or poppy seeds as  a garnish.  One of the fastest ways to add interest to a salad is to add a tablespoon of trail mix – the dried fruit, nuts and seeds add taste interest and texture.

So look through your fridge and cupboards for additions to your salads.  Soon you will be creating your own great healthy salad recipes!

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