Salad Tips

Salads do more than make meals attractive. They also make our meals more nutritious.

Many salads use mostly fruits and vegetables. The fruits and vegetables used in salads are good sources of vitamins and minerals. Leafy greens and dark yellow vegetables are good sources of vitamin A. Other vegetables add vitamin C, folate, iron, and magnesium. As an added bonus, they are low in fat and also give us fiber.

Many fruits used in salads are the best sources of vitamin C. Some fruits, the dark yellow ones also give us vitamin A. Fruits are also low in fat and sodium.

Fruits and vegetables are almost fat free. Some of the other ingredients used can be very high in fat. Most vegetables have only about 25 calories per half-cup serving. But many salad dressings can add up to 100 calories per tablespoon.

Low fat salad dressings are used more often now. These salad dressings add only about 15 calories per tablespoon.

Prepairing Salads

  • Cut foods into bite-size pieces.
  • Wash greens before storing. Remove the core. Hold the head, core side up, under running water. Drain well on paper towels. Wrap loosely in plastic wrap or plastic bag. Refrigerate.
  • Tear greens into bite-size pieces.
    Never cut with a knife, this will cause a brown color on the leaves.
  • Toss salad ingredients. Don’t over stir.
  • Don’t use too much dressing. Dressings are used to moisten and season foods. Too much dressing takes away from the flavor of the fruits and vegetables. It also adds additional calories and fat.
  • Don’t over-cook vegetables for salads.
  • Dip sliced apples, pears, and bananas in lemon juice to keep them from turning dark.

Food Safety

Food safety is always important. Be sure to keep everything clean. Wash hands before you start preparing the salad. Wash hands when needed during the preparation. Make sure that the kitchen counter is clean. Use only clean spoons and bowls. Some salad green mixtures come already cleaned and packaged. These greens still need to be rinsed under clean running water.

Salads need to be kept cold. Remember for cookouts or picnics to keep the salad cold on ice or in a cooler. Return leftovers to the cooler or throw out if left out too long. They should be at room temperature for no more than two hours. If the outside temperature is above 90°F, they should be left out for no more than one hour.

Low-Calorie Salad Dressing

1 cup cottage cheese
1⁄4 cup buttermilk
1⁄4 teaspoon garlic salt
1 Tablespoon dried parsley
Dash of pepper
2 teaspoons lemon juice or vinegar

Put all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. May need to add more buttermilk to thin. This dressing contains only 12 calories per tablespoon. Add your favorite herbs or spices for more flavor.

Prepared by: Barbara Farner, Extension Educator Nutrition and Wellness, University of Illinois Extension. Matteson Extension Center.


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