Summer Salads!!

Oh, salad …the iconic ‘health’ food!  A ‘summer staple’ for us healthy food fans!  I have to say, I DO love salad, but I’m not about to chomp down on a weary, wimpy, wilted salad simply because it’s healthy.  No way!  I’ll take a really delicious, satisfying and nourishing salad!  In fact, I eat a salad at least once a day… so it better be tasty!

I love to start with a fresh base of dark greens!  Sometimes I go for a spring mix, but usually I opt for spinach.  Spinach has a sweeter taste than most bitter greens (like those purple leaves you find mixed in… eww, I hate those)!  Spinach is good for your hair and skin.  It has anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer benefits.  In fact, it has been said that spinach has more nutrients per calorie than any other food on earth!  It has less than 30 calories in a full cup and about 30 milligrams of calcium.  It contains Vitamins A, K, D and E.  Spinach is also packed with non-heme (ie. non meat) iron.  And a cup of cooked spinach has more potassium than a banana!  So clearly, it’s a great base for for a healthy salad, but don’t stop there!

To keep my salads interesting and my taste buds happy, I love to top them with ‘fun’ toppings like plump red cherry tomatoes, tart dried cranberries, crunchy sunflower seeds, plump blueberries and grilled chicken for protein!  There are so many ways to make a salad tasty!  Here are just a few of my fave salads to finish the summer off strong!

I LOVE fresh fruit on my spinach salads… combine sweet fresh fruit with savory red onions and top with a drizzle of olive oil and fresh lemon juice!  YUM!  The perfect summer salad is totally bursting with antioxidants and it’s naturally hydrating, too.  Blueberries have the highest antioxidant content and are naturally very low-calorie.  They help to fight belly fat and even boost your immune system!  Strawberries also help fight fat and are naturally low cal with just over 50 calories for a whole cup!  They are sweet and oh-so-satisfying!
Salmon!!  I truly adore salmon!  It is just so healthy and delicious!  Grilled salmon with peppers on a fresh green salad is the perfect lunch!  It’s a light meal, but filling enough to keep you going!  A 4 oz serving of salmon provides more than 100% of your daily Vitamin D needs and it contains double your daily Vitamin B12 needs.  Salmon has been associated with improved cardiovascular health, increased mood and even better eyesight!  All from a friendly fillet of fish!
And I can’t forget one of my favorite ways to enjoy a summer salad… it’s a salad smoothie!  Who says you can’t drink your salad?!  A fresh green smoothie made with spinach, coconut water, frozen mango, banana and pineapple is sure to hit the spot!  I’ve also made a cucumber-melon smoothie before and have even added romaine to my fruit smoothies… but spinach is my fave smoothie addition!  Light and refreshing for a hot summer day!

How about you?!  Do you have a favorite summer salad?!


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