William Dickey / Styling Lisa Powell Bailey / Food Styling Angela Sellers
Editor's Pick: Spinach-Grape Chopped Salad
Salads make a nutritious meal. Or do they? We all know that eating colorful veggies and greens is a delicious way to pack in powerful antioxidants, but some toppings and dressings can add up to a lot of wasted calories and fat if you don’t watch out. Your choices in lettuce and other greens can also affect the good-for-you factor. Choose your ingredients wisely, and include lots of color.
The Darker, The Better
Lettuce and greens vary in levels of nutrients. Though paler lettuces, such as iceberg, have some nutritional value and are typically less expensive, it’s best to choose the deeper, brighter ones―that’s where you’ll find more of the cancer-fighting antioxidants. Avoid dark spots, wilted leaves, and yellowing. Mix and match a variety of colors and textures, such as crunchy romaine tossed with soft, nutrient-rich spinach leaves or peppery arugula with frilly red leaf lettuce.
Very Clean Veggies
Thoroughly wash all greens and vegetables, even prepackaged fresh produce. While rinsing under running water offers some protection against unsafe bacteria, we recommend these alternatives.
Keep Dressings Light
You don’t have to go completely fat free. In fact, we prefer light and reduced-fat dressings over fat-free ones, which tend to contain more sugar and other additives to boost flavor. Newman’s Own and Girard’s, for example, each have a great line of light salad dressings that taste just as good as the full-fat versions. If you want your bottled dressing creamier, add some nonfat or low-fat plain yogurt to thicken it, which also gives you an extra dose of dairy.
Or come up with your own creative combinations. Choose monounsaturated salad oils, such as olive and nut oils, when making your own dressing.