Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Myth: Now that it’s fall, I have limited options for making salads.

Answer: BUSTED!

Fall is a great time to try new ways to get more fruits and vegetables on your plate. The new USDA symbol, MyPlate, reminds us to make half our plate fruits and vegetables. Fruits or sweet-tasting veggies are a great way to kick up the taste quotient in salads.

mixed greens salad with apples, roasted red peppers, feta & pine nuts
Why eat salad? People who eat vegetables as part of a healthy diet have a reduced risk of some chronic diseases like heart disease. Most vegetables (fruits too!) are low in calories and they help ward off cancer because they are loaded with antioxidants – substances in plants that fight off disease and keep you healthy. Vegetables and fruits also have fiber which may reduce your risk of getting heart disease, type 2 diabetes and obesity. When choosing vegetables, go for the dark green, red/orange ones – they are high in vitamins A and C and potassium. Potassium can help you maintain a healthy blood pressure.

Some new salad combinations you might not have tried:
  • Dark greens, pears and beets – add a dash of balsamic vinegar and you have a great combination of “bite” that is sweet and tart. Some nuts would add nice crunch to this.
  • Dark greens, roasted butternut squash and red pepper – roasting caramelizes the squash adding a nice sweet flavor. Balsamic vinegar really sings with this salad combination.
  • Dark greens, whole wheat couscous, onions and roasted butternut squash – add a curry yogurt dressing for a different flavor.

You can add cooked or grilled chicken to any of the salads above to make them more tasty and satisfying.

Find other seasonal fruit and vegetable recipes in MU Extension's Seasonal and Simple guide.

For more info about healthy salads, go to

Contributor: Ellen Schuster, M.S., R.D., Associate State Specialist, University of Missouri Extension,, 573-882-1933

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