The start of summer is near and an assortment of fruit and veggies are in season and ON SALE! From fresh corn on the cob to the sweetest blackberries, there are a variety of healthy foods you can add this spring and summer.
For us, we enjoy a great salad. Salads are simple, versatile, convenient, colorful, and delicious. We enjoy adding an assortment of fresh veggies and fruit to make a unique eating experience every time.
Salads can be large enough to serve as a main meal or small enough to serve as a side dish. Did we mention the salad combinations are endless?
Here are 7 simple tips help you increase your fruit and veggie intake this summer:
1. Make a plan.
No matter if you are shopping for the month or shopping for the week, it’s important to plan out your grocery list. Having a list provides structure to your weekly meal plan. The list can also help keep you focus and eliminate those moments of forgetting stuff.
2. Buy more produce.
See tips 3 and 4.
3. Select your greens.
Here’s a tip—the darker the green, the more nutrients it contains. Select greens like romaine, spinach, kale, arugula, green leaf or red leaf lettuce, or a combo of mixed greens like a spring mix. For cost savings, you can buy different greens on sale and create your own salad mix instead of buying prepackaged salads. Better yet, try growing some of your favorite greens. A little gardening effort goes a long way.
4. Select colorful veggies.
Add colorful veggies like tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, peppers, mushrooms, bean sprouts, beets, etc. By adding more colors, you increase your intake of a variety of nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, all in one meal.
5. Select lean proteins.
Grilled chicken is an easy go-to and an excellent source of protein. Try switching things up with other proteins like turkey, fish, tuna, shrimp, or other seafood. Eggs are also a great protein source. Beans or tofu are additional sources of plant based protein that can be added to your salads.
6. Select fruit, nuts, seeds, & other goodies.
This is where you can top off your salads with a few treats. Add nuts, seeds, fresh or dried fruits, avocado slices, bean sprouts, or even a few black olives, jalapeno or banana peppers. A small amount goes a long way.
7. Add your favorite dressing.
What’s a great salad without a great salad dressing to compliment it? We love our salad dressings but some salad dressings can be high in fat, sugar, and/or sodium. Be sure to read those labels!
You don't have to avoid your favorite dressings. It's more important to be more mindful of how much you are adding to your salads. Remember, dressings are a compliment condiment.
Oil based vinaigrette dressings with healthy unsaturated fats (olive oil) are also a good option. If you like creamier dressings, you can find dressings made with Greek yogurt.
Be sure to check out your local farmer’s market, large box stores for seasonal fruit, or different cultural markets for produce you won’t find in your regular grocery stores.