By Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD
Superfoods help keep us healthy and youthful. They potentially fight diseases such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease and may even help slow the aging process. So what better foods to toss into your salads?
With the help of The Dole Taste of Spain Salads, I am posting 31 salad recipes throughout the month of May — enough for a different salad every day. This week, the 7 featured recipes have a Mediterranean vibe and are packed with suprfoods.
These salads are high in flavor, easy on the waistline and will supercharge your health and energy so you can enjoy all the activities summer has to offer from volleyball to paddle boarding to playing frisbee on the beach.
Southern Spanish Market Salad
SUPERFOOD SPOTLIGHT: Avocado. Avocados are worshiped for their heart healthy unsaturated fat, filling fiber (14 grams per avocado!) and essential nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin K and folate.
- 1 package (11.3 oz.) DOLE All-Natural Ultimate Caesar Kit
- 1/4 cup sliced black olives
- 1 avocado, peeled, and cut into chunks
- 1 medium bell pepper, cut into short thin strips
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 4 anchovy fillets (optional)
- In a large bowl, combine all DOLE® All-Natural Ultimate Caesar Kit ingredients except Caesar Dressing. Add olives, avocado, bell pepper, balsamic vinegar and toss with dressing.
- Transfer salad to shallow bowls or plates and garnish each with an anchovy fillet, if desired.
- Family Friendly Suggestion: So you’re a poultry person…no problem! Try swapping anchovies for a half-cup of pulled or diced cooked chicken to add extra protein that pairs just as easily with olives, cheery bell peppers and balsamic.
Serves 4. Serving size: 1/4 salad. 252 calories and 19g fat per serving.
Here are more Superfood Salad recipes. Check back next week for a new round of salads!
SUPERFOOD SPOTLIGHT: Potatoes. Potatoes contain resistant starch, which is a compound that works overtime to help you feel fuller longer. Also, potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C and potassium.
SUPERFOOD SPOTLIGHT: Raspberries. Raspberries are loaded with anti-cancer and anti-inflammation compounds. Plus they are a low-cal, high nutrition way to curb a sweet tooth.
SUPERFOOD SPOTLIGHT: Beets. Thanks to a unique pigment, called betalain, biting into a beet provides antioxidants, reduces inflammation and may help flush toxins out of the body. Beets are also rich in blood pressure lowering nitrates.
SUPERFOOD SPOTLIGHT: Broccoli. Raw broccoli provides high amounts of immune-boosting vitamin C and bone-beneficial vitamin K.
SUPERFOOD SPOTLIGHT: Beans. Beans provide protein, heart smart fiber and energy enhancing iron. Beans also help keep cholesterol in check and blood sugar balanced.
SUPERFOOD SPOTLIGHT: Tomatoes. Tomatoes are rich in antioxidants (particularly the trifecta of carotinoids: lycopene, lutein and zeaxanthin) which may improve the health of particularly your eyes and heart.
About the Author: Dawn Jackson Blatner, RDN, CSSD is a registered dietitian nutritionist and certified specialist in sports nutrition based in Chicago. She is the author of The Flexitarian Diet. Dawn is working with Dole throughout the month of May to inspire more salad eating.
“Every time you open your mouth, you have an opportunity to improve your health or promote disease,” says Elizabeth Somer, R.D., author of Eat Your Way Sexy. While nutritious foods are good for your whole body (antioxidants help keep vessels clean no matter where they are) certain foods and nutrients are especially beneficial for different parts.
Since we’re wrapping up Healthy Vision Month, we asked Somer to give us a rundown of her top 10 eats for your eyes. Vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, beta carotene, lutein have been shown to reduce risk for cataracts and macular degeneration. Here are foods that are high in these nutrients, plus ideas for how to incorporate them in your diet.
- Spinach: Toss these lutein superstars into lasagna, layer leaves in sandwiches or even blend in a smoothie (you won’t taste it mixed with fruit!). Just 10 milligrams of lutein per day—about 1/2 cup spinach—can help prevent vision loss, research has proven.
- Broccoli: The green veggies, delicious in salads, soups or these twice-baked potatoes (yum!), pack a one-two punch of vitamin C and lutein.
- Citrus fruits: Slice up an orange or grapefruit as a side with your lunch salad or sandwich for some vitamin C.
- Nuts: High in both omega-3 fatty acids (which may help prevent dry eyes) and vitamin E, nuts like almonds and cashews are great picks. Snack on an ounce or mix a tablespoon into your morning oatmeal or yogurt.
- Seafood: Many fish are naturally rich in omega-3 fats. Try salmon or arctic char for the largest dose, and find some of our favorite seafood recipes here.
- Bell peppers: Serve in a stir-fry or dip in hummus more vitamin C in your diet. One red bell pepper provides 240 percent of your recommended daily amount of the vitamin!
- Avocado: Mash them up in guacamole or slice on top of a sandwich for some hunger-fighting healthy fats and peeper-promoting vitamin E.
- Carrots: Bugs Bunny was on to something…beta carotene was actually named after carrots since the veggies are such an ample source. Throw slices or coins into salads, pasta primavera or soups.
- Sweet Potatoes: Another super source of beta carotene, these tubers are tasty in mashes (swap for basic white potatoes) or baked in the oven as healthier fries.
- Whole grains: You’ve heard that going whole is better for more fiber, but foods like whole-wheat breads, pastas and cereals also pack zinc and selenium. Serve that bell pepper stir-fry over brown rice for a meal that’s a feast for the eyes.
More from FITNESS: These lesser-known, affordable superfoods can help keep you healthy and slim!
Healthy living doesn’t have to take a lot of time. Laurel House, AKA the QuickieChick, is out to prove just that in her new book out today QuickieChick’s Cheat Sheet to Life, Love, Food, Fitness, Fashion and Finance on a Less Than Fabulous Budget. We started off 2012 with some simple health upgrades from House, and now we have three more smart steps from her to help take your nutrition, fitness and motivation to the next level.
1. Make your meals count. Food doesn’t just provide energy (calories). Many pantry staples offer lesser-known health qualities. House’s favorite “Bites with Benefits:”
- To burn fat: ginger, jalapeno, cayenne, grapefruit
- To ease a hangover: asparagus, spirulina, oranges
- To focus: rye, yogurt, oatmeal, blueberry
- To boost energy: oatmeal, lentils, black beans, sweet potato, peanut butter, apple, figs, dates
2. Sweat for 100. You may not have time to run 10 miles or fit in your favorite fitness class every day, but you can crank out 100 reps or 100 seconds of these effective exercises. “It’s your no-excuse workout and a great way to burn a few extra calories, tone your muscles and get in a fit mindset,” House says. Start your morning with any—or many!—of the following:
3. Place healthy reminders. Stick Post-It notes on your bathroom mirror, alarm clock, fridge or any other location that you often see. Then write motivational messages on them that will inspire you to keep working toward your wellness goals like, “If you worked out when you started thinking about working out, you’d be done by now” or “Wake up with determination. Go to bed with satisfaction.”
Now tell us: What quote would motivate you to get moving or make smart diet choices?