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March 07, 2011 | Posted in: Recipes
Color Your Diet

Spring is right around the corner. It is a perfect time of year to color your diet with healthful fruits and veggies and balance your plate with perfect portions to maintain or lose weight.

To get started: Select seasonal salads! Adding a large salad to your daily diet – whether preparing it at home to accompany dinner or putting it together from a salad bar for lunch or a healthy snack idea – can meet two servings (1 cup salad = 1 serving) towards your daily goal of nine servings of fruits and vegetables for the day.

Smart Salad-Tossing Tips:

  • Start with the greens. Almost all greens can make a healthful salad, but the darker the green, the more nutritious it is. Look for leaf lettuce, Romaine, endive, chicory and raw spinach.
  • Don’t panic if iceberg is the only choice. You can still make a healthful salad by adding in colorful and healthful veggies and beans.
  • Lightly steamed veggies make great salad additions. Try cauliflower or broccoli florets, sugar snap peas and carrot coins.
  • At a salad bar, watch for shiny vegetables; it’s likely that they are drenched in oil.
  • Choose toppings with healthful monounsaturated fats such as walnuts, slivered almonds, olives, avocado or soybeans.
  • Use toppings such as bacon bits, croutons and cheese sparingly, if at all.
  • Avoid creamy dressings and mayo-laden offerings. Just two tablespoons of ranch dressing can add 150 calories and 16 grams of fat.
  • Experiment with gourmet vinegars like balsamic, mango- or tomato-flavored vinegar. You can get away with less oil or even no oil due to the burst of flavor.
  • Try salsa in place of traditional salad dressing. Salsas are a powerhouse of antioxidants, fat-free and low in calories. One-half cup of an all-vegetable or fruit-vegetable salsa counts toward your daily goal of five to nine fruit and vegetable servings.

Healthful Salad Toppings:



  Notable Nutrients

Almonds, 1 ounce


  Protein, potassium, magnesium and fiber

Beets, ½ cup sliced


  Folate and potassium

Cabbage, red, ½ cup shredded


  Fiber, vitamin C, beta-carotene, indoles

Celery, ½ cup diced


  Vitamin C and potassium

Chickpeas (garbanzo beans), ½ cup


  Protein, fiber, folate, calcium, potassium, zinc

Carrots, grated, raw, ½ cup


  Vitamin A, carotenoids and fiber

Chicken breast, 3 oz. white meat


  Protein, niacin and vitamin B6

Egg, boiled, 1


  Vitamins A, E, B12, D, riboflavin, folate, selenium and zinc. Limit to one

Mushrooms, ½ cup


  Riboflavin, niacin, potassium and selenium

Olives, 5 small


  Monounsaturated fat and phenols

Salsa, 2 tablespoons


  Vitamin C, lycopene

Sunflower seeds, 1 ounce


  Vitamins E, B6, niacin, folate, copper, magnesium, zinc, fiber and linoleic acid

Tomatoes, 10 cherry


  Vitamins A, C, potassium and lycopene

Tuna, canned in water, 3 ounces


  Protein, niacin and omega-3 fatty acids

Research shows that a diet that includes plenty of vegetables, fruits and whole grains can be a powerful tool in weight management as well as in combating chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease. In addition, the fiber and water in plant foods make you feel satisfied without filling you up with calories, and serve as delicious and healthy snacks or meals!. Bon Apetit!

Tags: Balanced Meals, Diet, Dinner, Ingredients, Lunch, Quick & Easy Meals.