180 Mix and Match Summer Salads

It is officially summertime and I am mesmerized by all of the beautiful fruit I am seeing at the grocery store and the farmers markets these days. Here in California, I am so spoiled by the variety and freshness of our produce and I am reminded that I could never stray too far from the land of fruit and nuts, even if it means a smaller house.

Summer salads

My latest afternoon snack obsession is a fruit and healthy fat salad. Some of you might be thinking, but wait, fat? That can’t be good and I thought fruit was on the no-no list?… Well, here are my totally non-scientific, kind of ranty thoughts on that one.

Well, here are my totally non-scientific, kind of ranty thoughts on that one.

First of all, lowering the fat content of a food such as dairy will raise the sugar content, it’s just how science works.  Burn fat and that fat turns into energy AKA carbohydrates, AKA sugar.  You can’t avoid the saturated fat that is in cheese, but if you are generally healthy and you practice good portion control, a moderate amount of healthy fat in your diet is actually good for you!

Second of all, for some reason, fruit is getting a bad rap. Yes, there are some fruits that are higher on the glycemic index and you should be aware of which ones to eat when and how much. And yes, if you have health issues like diabetes you should talk to your doctor before making any changes to your regular diet. Or, if your training for a bikini competition or are a body builder you should pay special attention to every bit of food you put in your mouth, but if you just the average mom trying to make healthy choices for you and your family, fruit is not your enemy. That ice cream in the freezer is. The other day I actually had a friend tell me that if I was going to be giving my child grapes as a snack I might as well be giving them a Snicker’s Bar! I’m sorry, but this is just complete nonsense! Ok, end rant.

Here are some great whole ingredients that you can experiment with all summer long! Start with your greens then add the fruit, healthy fat, and dressing and you have a tasty nutrient-rich snack that will get you to dinner time.

Summer salads

Greens: One big handful or 1-1.5 cups.

Here I gotta go with dark leafy and packed full of nutrients. I try to stay away from water filled and low nutrient lettuce like iceberg or romaine.

Fruit: .5 – 1 cup.

In the summer, you have the whole rainbow to choose from. Darker berries will give you a bigger boost of antioxidant power, but really all fruit is good fruit.

Healthy Fats: 2 tablespoons.

To manage your salt and sugar intake, keep your cheese full fat and your nuts raw and unsalted. Again, this is when portion control is your BFF! It is so easy to think you can eyeball the right amount but if you’re hungry you are likely to go overboard.

Dressing: < 1 tablespoon.

Keep them light. You would be surprised how many store-bought oil and vinegar based dressings add cheese and a ton of extra salt so be sure to read the labels.  Or, make your own.  Sometimes just a dash of oil and vinegar will do the trick.

Here are a couple of my favorites.

Arugula and baby kale mixed with blush wine vinaigrette and topped with watermelon and gorgonzola cheese.

Summer salads

Spinach and arugula with balsamic vinegar and avocado oil topped with strawberries and pistachios.

Summer salads

Spinach, baby kale with blush wine vinaigrette topped with cherries and chevre.

Summer salads

Keep the conversation going on Instagram with the hashtag #mysummersalad. If you want to learn more about how you can use portion control to clean up your diet email me at emilyjustright@gmail.com. As always subscribe to our email list so that you don’t miss thing!

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