June 19th, 2024

From Our Table: Beat the heat with summer salads

By Medicine Hat News on July 17, 2018.

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A summer salad, like the one pictured here or the recipe below, can help you stay cool this summer.

Beat the heat and enjoy delicious, nutritious summer veggies. Here are a few ideas to bump up your veggie vitamins this summer and stay cool.

* Buy a wide variety of vegetables then wash them and cut them up right away so they are ready to grab and go, eat for meals and super snacks. Better yet grow your own so you get every nutrient possible. If you don’t garden then buy local at grocery stores or the farmers’ market.

* Make a meal plan that includes 2-3 vegetables. If you plan ahead you will be more organized and have your favourite vegetables on hand. Fresh veggies on their own or in a salad are perfect to beat the heat of summer.

* Have vegetables for a snack and at each meal. If you increase your frequency of eating veggies you will automatically eat more.

* Supersize vegetable portions. When you have a lunch or supper meal half your plate should be vegetables. The other quarter should be meat or meat alternatives and the other quarter starchy food choice like potatoes or rice

* Set out a plate of cut up veggies before meals. Everyone seems to get the munchies right before mealtime. You might not see all the little family fingers grabbing on the run but once the meal is ready bet you big money the plate will be empty.

* Have a wide variety of vegetables to choose from, It’s important to have lots of different types of vegetables. There are so many delicious choices and each has its own nutrition benefit. It’s especially important to introduce children to a very wide variety of veggies. Research shows children need to try new foods several times before they can truly decide if they like it or not. Just because little Lola didn’t like mushy cooked carrots when she was a baby doesn’t mean she won’t like crispy cooked carrots or raw carrot sticks. Also just because you the parent don’t like certain veggies let your kids try them and make their own decisions. Don’t create biases for your children.

* As an alternative to making salad at supper, set out small bowls of a wide variety of salad fixings and let everyone create their own. This way everyone can enjoy all the veggies they really like.

* The heat of summer is the perfect time to have supper salad meals. Mix up your favourite vegetables with a protein choice like cooked chicken, steak strips, shrimp or legumes such as lentils or black beans or chick peas. You can also add a carb choice such as whole grain rice.

Dressings can vary from simple salt and pepper to olive oil and vinegar to a fresh herb dressing recipe. I highly recommend visiting The Olive Tap on Second Street downtown to get delicious pairing ideas for olive oil and vinegar. The peach-infused vinegar with the Tuscan herb olive oil is our family favourite.

So get a double benefit in this sizzle of summer by enjoying lots of vegetables and keeping the heat out of the kitchen by having supper salad meals.

Joanne Smith is a registered dietitian.

Summertime Salad

2 cups small pasta eg. shell pasta cooked al dente

2 Tbsp diced red onion

4 carrots sliced thin (if fresh do not peel just scrub well)

1 red, orange or yellow bell pepper diced

1 cup broccoli florets cut into small pieces

1 cup cauliflower florets cut into small pieces

4 stalks celery sliced thin

1 cup diced cucumber (leave peeling on if using English cucumber)

1 cup cubed cheddar cheese

2 cans tuna drained and flaked or 1-2 cups cooked diced chicken

Dressing:

3 Tbsps sugar

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup vinegar

1/4 cup ketchup

Salt and pepper to taste

1/4 tsp paprika

In a large serving bowl mix together all ingredients except tuna or chicken.

Whisk dressing together or mix in a salad carafe. Pour dressing over veggies and pasta and toss to coat. Top with tuna or chicken and serve. Top with a sprig or two of fresh parsley if desired.

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