There are unlimited combinations of fruits and veggies that make the most beautiful salads. And let’s face it, we eat with our eyes and noses before the food even gets to our mouths. So create your own work of art, and get healthy doing it.
The most simplified version of the USDA’s recommendation is to fill half of your plate with fruits and vegetables for every meal and each snack. Because the micronutrient content of fruits and vegetables is different, we should make sure to vary our ingredients from meal to meal and from day to day. Choose one from each category for your own veggie variety.
Red, Purple, Blue
raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, cranberries, tomatoes, guava, watermelon, cherries, pomegranate, radicchio, beets, red bell peppers
Orange and Yellow
cantaloupe, apricots, mangoes, nectarines, peaches, papaya, pineapple, yams, carrots, pumpkin, squash, corn, yellow and orange bell peppers
kiwi, spinach, kale, watercress, swiss chard, collard greens, beet greens, lettuce, broccoli, brussel sprouts, asparagus, green cabbage, herbs (basil, parsley, thyme, cilantro)
apples, pears, bananas, onions, mushrooms, cauliflower and cucumbers
Fruits and veggies are loaded with nutrients.
- They have vitamins and minerals, which help to maintain healthy skin, teeth, bones and vision.
- They have phytochemicals, which are plant compounds linked to reductions in the risk of major chronic diseases.
- They have antioxidants, which help us fight free radicals, providing anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and anti-cancer benefits.
- High in fiber- they keep our insides clean and pristine.
Salads, like soups, can be a complete meal if you include a whole grain complex carbohydrate and a source of protein. Food Network chef Guy Fieri makes a kale and bulgar salad, which checks off all the boxes- rainbow, veggie (kale, red onion), fruit (apricots), protein (almonds), complex carb (bulgar.)
Not just for ladies lunch anymore. Grilled chicken or steak on a bed of greens with roasted root veggies is a big turn on for meat and potato lovers. When entertaining, try a tuna steak topped with a tropical fruit salad
- Marinated tuna steak recipe from allrecipes.com.
- And for the fruit salad, chop up pineapple and mango, dice a jalapeno and cilantro, and squeeze a lot fresh lemon juice– no oil necessary for this salad.
A “Bini” salad- it’s my favorite combo and just looking at it makes me happy– butter leaf lettuce, heirloom tomato, broccoli sprouts, shredded purple cabbage, sliced golden beets. For dressing, Google the Spiral Restaurant’s miso dressing recipe (also great as a dipping sauce for crudité or a marinade for fish.) And to top it off, get a little nutty (peanuts)– because you are what you eat!