Monday, June 18, 2012

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Healthy Food Tip
Can salads be a good source of nutrients?

Unfortunately, in some food traditions within the U.S., salad has become merely a "side dish." To make matters worse in terms of salad's reputation, oftentimes salads in restaurants may consist of nothing more than a tiny amount of iceberg lettuce drowned under a layer of artificially colored French dressing.
The origin of salad
The word "salad" comes from the Latin word salata, meaning "salted." During the time of the Roman Empire, a common meal consisted of vegetables that had been seasoned with brine; it was called herba salata, or "salted vegetables." We like this original meaning of the word "salad," because at the World's Healthiest Foods we think that vegetables are such an important part of what salads are all about!
Salads can be complete nutritional meals
There is absolutely no nutrient that cannot be obtained from a salad. In fact, a salad containing a wide variety of vegetables-including root vegetables, green leafy vegetables, stalks, stems, and flowers-will often be closer to a "complete meal" than many other food possibilities. Salads containing seeds, nuts, fish, shellfish, or beans can contain more protein than a piece of steak, twice as many nutrients as a traditional "entrée" plus two "side vegetables" as well as contributing hard-to-find omega-3 fatty acids to the meal. Even small amounts of "garnish" type ingredients-like a tablespoon of pumpkin seeds or a sprinkling of walnuts-are a very worthwhile addition in terms of nutrients. Trace minerals and small amounts of high-quality omega-3 fats are nutrients that most U.S. adults don't get nearly enough, and it doesn't take many pumpkin seeds or walnuts to bring at least some of these vital nutrients into the day's Healthiest Way of Eating.
Practical tips
Think of a salad as a canvas upon which you can mix the different "colors" of foods. Depending upon your mood, the season, and the content of your refrigerator, you can make a salad with a mix of your favorite vegetables. Starting with a nutrient-rich lettuce like romaine and adding a mesclun or spring mix variety of lettuces will create a great foundation for any salad. From there you can add in a selection of leafy greens, root vegetables, or other vegetables.
The sky's the limit (actually your imagination and palate are the limit) as to what combination of vegetables you can use. From there, you can add fruit, nuts, seeds, beans, legumes….the list of what you can add to a salad to not only make it delicious but nutritious goes on and on. Mix up a lot of different foods that feature a spectrum of nutrients and your salad bowl may one day replace your multivitamin supplement.
If you have any questions about today's Healthy Food Tip Ask George Your Question

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