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Bringing Balance: Salad Days

You may have gathered from my blogs that in the winter, we eat an awful lot of soup, because it’s comforting, quick, and an easy way to get a ton of veggies into our family’s diet.

  But by right around now, our soup love is seriously waning, which is why I’m always so happy to see a wider variety of greens in my farm box and to start celebrating the salad season.

Aiming to eat a salad every day is one of the simplest & healthiest habits you can adopt as a family for a whole bunch of reasons:

• Obviously, it’s an easy way to include 2-3 servings of nutrient-dense, antioxidant-rich veggies and fruit in your day.

• It’s easy.  If you have a salad dressing in the fridge (I’ve included one yummy recipe at the end), or oil and vinegar in the pantry, all you need is a bag of greens, a knife, and whatever’s in your crisper.  You can also always find a salad if you’re on the road at any restaurant or deli, so it’s an easy habit to keep no matter what.

• It’s a great way to give your kids choice & control within healthy boundaries. Put a little “salad bar” together on the counter, and let them choose their own greens, veggies and fruits, nuts or seeds, and a healthy dressing.  When you give them a little say, it’s amazing what they’ll eat!

• It gives everyone a daily fibre boost. More fibre not only helps with digestive regularity, it helps keep cholesterol levels healthy.

• Diets high in fruits and veggies are linked with a lower risk of many cancers. If you are worried about cancer, this is an easy way to be pro-active.

• Salads are the perfect place to practice combining good carbs with protein and little healthy fat, something I work on with all my clients, young and old.  A base of veggies and fruit for carbs, lean meat or beans for protein, a few nuts, seeds or avocado & a healthy dressing for a dose of good fat makes a perfectly balanced meal or snack.

There are no rules with salads, but I would suggest you try to include some darker greens, as these generally are more nutrient-dense, and work on including a rainbow of colour with your veggie & fruit toppings. Beware the salad dressing, this can be your downfall in an otherwise super-healthy meal. Check out the label on your family’s favourite dressing — does it include a mammoth list of ingredients, most of which you can’t pronounce?  Many commercial dressings are laden with artificial colours & flavours, sodium and unhealthy fats.  If you have a mason jar and a blender you can whip up a quick dressing in less than five minutes and feel great about topping your family’s salads with it.

Here’s our current fave, perfect for a spring salad – Berry Balsamic.  We love it on an arugula and spinach base with sunflower seeds, pecans, baby tomatoes and goat cheese.  

Ingredients:
1 c. strawberries (frozen and defrosted or fresh are both fine)
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp maple syrup (or 2 pitted medjool dates, chopped)
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/4 cup olive oil

To prepare:
In a food processor or high-powered blender, puree the berries, balsamic, maple syrup (or dates), salt and pepper.  Slowly add the olive oil while blending to combine until a creamy dressing forms.  Store in an airtight jar in the fridge. 

 

Wendy McCallum, LLB, RHN, is passionate about providing busy parents with the tools & support they need to feed their families wholesome food, so everyone can play, learn, and feel better!  She is a mother of two terrific HRM kids, aged 8 & 9. For information and recipe ideas, visit her website.

About Urban Parent

Urban Parent (formally HRM Parent) is a an online community for families living, exploring and playing in the Halifax area. We connect local parents with events, information, services, products – and each other. Our online community of local parents is growing every day and we’re so grateful for all who are a part of it. Our Facebook and Twitter “inbox” questions have been known to cause some wild conversations, unite families with similar needs and most importantly let many parents know they are never alone! Urban Parent is run by local parents, for local parents. We know what a struggle it can be to find local information and resources, so we’ve done the work for you in the hope that it has made your day a little easier and maybe even given you some cool parent points with the kids! Have an idea for a blog? Need more information? Want to advertise with us? Just send us an email at info@urbanparent.ca we’d love to hear from you.

 

The views and opinions expressed in this content are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of haligonia.ca.

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