(Dietary changes should be discussed with a health care provider.)
As you’ve probably guessed, I am not talking about whether to wear the jacket, but skip the tie, or whether to kick off the heels in favor of boots. As usual, it’s all about the food. Here are a few suggestions for dressing up your salads or any dishes that you bring to the table – for the holidays and throughout the new year.
SPRINKLE THINGS with RAW NUTS & SEEDS: From walnuts & almonds to sunflower & pumpkin seeds to sesame & chia seeds you can’t go wrong. Whether you layer different greens with different seeds, sprinkle them all on top, or simply toss everything until well mixed, don’t skimp (on the greens or the toppings). No salad dressing is required. Nuts and seeds add a heart-iness (there’s a pun coming) that satisfies. Their chewiness combined with their protein and omega-3 content will fill the missing-something you may feel a dry salad lacks. Also according to several long term studies including the Adventist Health Study, the Physicians’ Health Study, the Nurses’ Health Study and others as well as many short term studies in the last few years, increased nut & seed consumption decreases or is associated with decreases in:
Bad Cholesterol – small dense pattern & total LDL
Heart Attack Risk
Death due to Cardiac Arrhythmia
Body Mass Index
USE FRESH or EVEN DRIED HERBS: For some reason I always forget this trick until it is my sister-in-law’s turn to bring a salad, and I get a bite of baby greens that have an extra burst of zing! It’s a surprise party for your taste bubs. You can pluck basil leaves off the stem and throw them in the your salad whole or chop thyme, parsley, oregano etc. My neighbor even sprinkles dry herbs over a salad. It seemed odd the first time I saw it, but it is practical to use the dried herbs in the winter. Think of the herb shakers as replacements for the salad dressing bottles.
DON’T FORGET CHUNKS of FRUIT: Cubes of apple, wedges of pear or tangerine, whole grapes, berries (in season) – even pomegranate seeds on a special occasion – can top your salads and sides. The colors contrast beautifully with dark greens and they add flavor and nutritional diversity.
MIX IT UP ALL YEAR: Try pairing fruit with nuts, seeds with herbs and even herbs with fruit all on every kind of lettuce, leaf or green that you can find to try. Warning: This might make you want to eat more salad more often.
CHALLENGE #19 of 50:
Have a salad with dinner every night for a week. Don’t have the salad instead of another vegetable; have the salad as well as another vegetable! Try to skip the store bought salad dressings all week as well and more often than not in the new year.
QUOTE of the WEEK:
The colors of a fresh garden salad are so extraordinary, no painter's pallet can duplicate nature's artistry.