Editor’s Note: The following article is one in a series of pieces inspired by spring being a time to take charge of our health. They all include tips for being fit, eating right and feeling healthy, brought to you by Colgate. Let’s ToneUP together!
Salad doesn’t have to be looked upon as a food you have to eat to be healthy, but food that you want to eat to feel great. To honor May as National Salad Month, these five power salads are tasty, easy to make and effective in helping you reach a healthy nutritional level.
SPINACH, STRAWBERRY & KIWI SALAD
Popeye the sailor man had it right! We should be eating spinach for our health. Filled with vitamins, antioxidants and fiber they pack a big punch per serving. They help us build and maintain strong bones, aid with vision, regulate blood pressure and help your complexion glow. Adding strawberry slices and kiwi pieces will boost your immunity with a big jolt of vitamin C.
How to Make It • In a big bowl, mix a large handful of fresh baby spinach, 2-3 sliced strawberries and ½ kiwi fruit. Toss it with a balsamic vinaigrette and mix well to evenly coat.
BLACK BEAN & CORN SALSA SALAD
Let’s say you had taco night yesterday and you have one serving of that delicious black bean and corn salsa left, what are your revamp options? Since beans are an excellent source of protein and fiber and help regulate blood sugar—I suggest tossing ½ cup of this delicious salsa into a big bowl of mixed greens. By adding a little olive oil, this is one clearly delicious meal you will make again.
Read Related: Comfort Foods that Make Us Feel Worse
GARDEN PASTA SALAD
There is no better way to revamp last night’s leftovers than turning them into a delicious pasta salad. Made with whole-wheat pasta, grilled or steamed broccoli and any fresh vegetable you might want to add; this is one salad you can put together quickly. The whole-wheat pasta gives this salad fiber and that full-meal sensation. Adding broccoli will provide lots of calcium, among many of its other health benefits, and tossing fresh cherry tomatoes, carrots and corn give this a full rainbow effect.
How to Make It • In a large bowl, mix leftover whole-wheat pasta, steamed broccoli and fresh vegetables. Toss it with a light Italian vinaigrette and this is the perfect one-bowl meal.
CARROT RAISIN SALAD
Who said that the only time to eat carrot raisin salad was at a picnic? Carrots are a good source of vitamins B1, B2, B6, K, biotin, fiber, potassium and thiamine. They are linked to cancer prevention, improved vision, heart disease prevention and stroke risk reduction. They also have anti-aging properties and play a big part in dental health. Raisins are known for their mighty antioxidant powers so putting these two together is almost an easy task. Instead of using full fat mayonnaise to dress this salad swap it out for non-fat Greek yogurt instead. Double up on the lemon juice and this salad delivers great health benefits with the ultimate crunch.
While it might seem that quinoa is a new and fashionable ingredient, this ancient grain delivers lots of fiber, protein, iron, lysine, magnesium, B2 and much more per serving. Eaten warm, it is the perfect side to any meal; but served cold, this marvelous grain packs a nutritional punch in each bite. My favorite way to eat quinoa is cold, mixed with chick peas and diced tomatoes, and a dash of olive oil and a pinch of salt.
Still think that salads are plain, boring and nutritionally deficient? Perhaps my favorite part of making salads is that all I need is a big bowl, a cutting board and a knife. I let leftovers and fresh ingredients complete the dish!