It’s hot. With record temperatures sweeping the country, it’s hard to get excited about cooking dinner. It’s the perfect time for salads for supper. They’re quick to assemble, don’t heat up your kitchen and can be one of the healthiest meals you can eat. According to Prevention Magazine, many salad components are nutritional powerhouses that help fight against disease. Follow these tips to make your salad the best it can be.
Build your base with dark, leafy greens. These are high in folate, which has been shown to reduce risk of cancer. One study found that women who ate the mostly dark greens were among the least likely to get breast cancer.
Make like a bunny and add some carrots. Then top with tomatoes. Both of these colorful vegetables are loaded with anti-oxidants that are powerful fighters against cancer.
Add healthy proteins such as beans and fish. I’m huge advocate of eating beans as a protein source. They’re high in fiber and protein without the fat found in animal products. Not all animal fat is bad, though. Fish such as wild salmon is high in the unsaturated fats that help fight heart disease. Add some extra next time you grill it for supper and use it for a salad later that week.
Speaking of fat, be sure to add the right kind to your salad. Believe it or not, including a little healthy fat in your salad helps you absorb the nutrients in the vegetables. Skip the creamy dressings, crunchy noodles and shredded cheese. Do add fats such as a couple of slices of avocado or a yummy vinaigrette. A good choice is always extra-virgin olive oil mixed with balsamic vinegar. The healthy fat from the olive oil fills you up and fights all kinds of disease. While you’re at it, add some lemon or orange zest to the mix for a great flavor and health boost. Limonene, a compound found in citrus fruits has been shown to reduce skin cancer risk. Feeling a little more ambitious? Make this delicious and versatile vinaigrette (it’s great on fish, tofu and chicken too).
Makes between ¼ – ½ cup, depending upon lemon size.
1 teaspoon plus 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
½ teaspoon kosher salt
Preheat oven to 400º.
Halve the lemons crosswise and remove the seeds. Place lemons in a glass baking dish and drizzle with 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Turn cut-side down and roast until tender and slightly golden, about 25 – 45 minutes depending upon the size of the lemons. Let cool.
Squeeze the juice and the pulp into a small bowl. Add any juice from the baking dish along with the honey and salt. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil slowly, whisking constantly until combined.
Pair your salad with a slice of whole grain bread topped with goat cheese, and you have a satisfying summer supper that does your body good.