Fruit, A Salad’s Best Friend

I love a good salad. Nothing feels better than filling up on a bowl full of different vegetables. However, we all know that not all salads are created equal. Loading up with heavy dressings, croutons, fried items, and other caloric fare can take your salad from virtuous to villainous. For the non-veggie lovers out there, this can be a real problem, making a healthy salad practically unbearable. If you find yourself falling into the salad-hating category, or you just want to take your regular salad to the next level, adding fruit can really make a difference. Some of you may feel a little leery about mixing the sweet with the savory, but I’m here to tell you that it is a killer combination. The sweetness compliments and contrasts with the other flavors and the acid found in many fruits can help balance the fat from the olive oil in your dressing or the avocado you slice on top. Whatever fruit you have on hand is fair game. Strawberries, peaches, apples, nectarines, cherries, oranges, grapefruit, grapes, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries are all great options (but not all at once). Basically if you like it, toss it in there. Whole fruit is going to be your best option over dried because you’ll be getting the water that comes with whole fruit and you also won’t have to worry about the extra sugar that is often added to dried fruits, particularly cranberries. So next time you make a salad, get a little crazy and throw in some chopped apple or fresh berries. You’ll be amazed at the difference it can make.

What is your favorite fruit to put in your salad? Let me know in the comments below. : )

Independence Day: A Diet Diary

Yesterday, like many Americans, I celebrated the Fourth of July with my family by cooking and sitting down to a summer feast. I figured that with so much good food around, it was a perfect opportunity to post about what we were up

to and how I build a healthy meal at a summer cookout. Telling you is helpful, but showing you is so much more fun!

Tabouleh, a cold grain and vegetable salad.

The first thing I made was a cold grain and vegetable salad called tabouleh. I got this particular recipe from The Food You Crave by Ellie Krieger. It consists of bulgur wheat, tomatoes, cucumber, mint, and red onion, with parsley in the starring role (the recipe calls for 2 cups). These are all mixed together and then dressed with a mixture of extra-virgin olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, cumin, salt, and pepper. This is a popular recipe at my house, especially with my 15-year-old brother. In fact, it’s his favorite thing that I make! Sometimes, we add chicken to make it a little more filling as a main dish, but, this time, we kept it as a side. There was one minor “learning opportunity.” Continue reading