Make it Work
I hope all you mamas got some special treatment and extra love yesterday, whether your children showered you with gifts, spent some quality time with you, or just did something really nice with the intention of giving you a bit of a break. You all certainly deserve it!
Now that the work week has begun again, it’s time to think more mundane thoughts like what to feed our families that will be nutritious, won’t take forever to make, and they’ll actually eat! Sometimes that can be quite a challenge, especially as allergies and food sensitivities abound.
We tend to eat lighter when the weather warms up, and of course we can also take advantage of the greater abundance of fresh produce. Though salads quickly come to mind for most of us, it’s really easy to get bored with the same ol’ greens. Salad from a bag, anybody? Of course, summer also brings on the cook-outs, which often feature creamy egg, potato, and pasta salads. Those barbecue favorites can certainly be delicious, but most feature saturated-fat-laden mayonnaise. I love a good salad, but I love it even more when somebody else makes it!
More than just a side dish, salads can make a nutritious and complete meal, and there are so many options to choose from! Salads featuring grains and beans provide protein and fiber, important no matter who you are. Fresh vegetables, fresh or dried fruits, herbs, and nuts add nutrition, crunch, and texture, while simple vinaigrettes add flavor and fun without all the bad fat.
Mix It Up
Greens are grand and taters are terrific, but what about those grains and beans?
Think about some options. Next time you make rice or couscous for dinner, double your recipe and save the extra half to serve as a salad base for another meal! Couscous goes great with garbanzo beans, fresh mint, chopped cucumbers, dried cranberries or raisins, and a light balsamic vinaigrette to make a tasty, Mediterranean-inspired dish. Brown rice also plays nicely with black beans, avocado, red onion, tomato, and cilantro. Toss this with a blend of lime juice, olive oil, and jalapeno and you have a deliciously fresh and zesty salad.
Don’t let the challenges of food allergies, sensitivities, or even picky eaters get you down. Start with a base of grains and beans and surround with a variety of flavorful ingredients and a fresh dressing. Let your family—or guests—add their own fixin’s to their heart’s content while making sure they get some of the healthy goods up front.
Salad season is upon us! Definitely eat your greens, but try some healthy grains and legumes for variety and additional nutrition.
What’s your salad philosophy, The More the Merrier, or Keep it Simple, Sweetie?