Great Salad Tips @weightwatchers @loselikeaman

Posted: July 31, 2012 in Uncategorized

Salads that Satisfy

Learn how to create flavorful, filling combinations.
Article By: Melissa Chessher
Salads that SatisfyTopic of the Week

It’s that time of year when a big, crisp salad seems like just what the doctor ordered. Healthy, easy and — oops, wilted into a slimy mess in the fridge. Where’s that takeout menu?

Purchase and storage
Ending up with nice, crisp lettuce means starting with the freshest greens you can find — preferably ones that have been refrigerated or kept on ice. Look for stems that are crisp and for leaves that aren’t limp or slimy.

To keep bagged lettuce fresh, store it in the original manufacturer’s bag. Keep heads of lettuce or individual leaf lettuce in a plastic produce bag and store them in your vegetable crisper. Although tastiest (and most nutritious) when consumed soon after purchase, properly stored iceberg can last up to 2 weeks, romaine about 1 1/2 weeks, radicchio about 7 days, and green and red leaf lettuces about 3 to 4 days. Delicate greens like arugula only keep fresh about 2 days.

Make sure to store your greens away from fruits, like apples, which give off gas that can hasten decay. And only wash the greens just before you eat them to avoid sliminess.

Washing tips

  • Cut or tear lettuce into pieces
  • Immerse in a large bowl of cold water
  • Swish leaves around to loosen dirt and other grit
  • Remove lettuce and place in a strainer to drain
  • Gently pat dry with paper towel or spin dry in a salad spinner
  • If you don’t eat it all right away, wrap clean lettuce in dry paper towel, place in a clean, loosely closed plastic bag and refrigerate for 2 to 3 days. Or store in a covered salad spinner in the fridge.

 

Are all lettuces created equal?
Definitely not. Tastes, texture and nutritional value vary greatly. Robin Vitetta-Miller, MS, nutritionist and food writer, loves hearts of romaine for their crispness, hearty flavor and nutrients (they’re loaded with vitamin A, folate and vitamin C). Iceberg lettuce is also nice and crisp, but it has a mild flavour and scores low on the nutrition charts.

The butterhead lettuce family, which includes Bibb and Boston lettuces, is named for its “buttery” texture and slightly sweet flavor. Red and green leaf lettuces (also known as looseleaf), fall between butterhead and iceberg/romaine in terms of texture — they’re mild in taste. Of special mention are arugula for its high calcium, beta-carotene and vitamin C contents and peppery taste, and radicchio for its bright red color and strong flavor.

Putting it all together
Vitetta-Miller offers a few tips for turning your greens into exciting main meals or starter salads.

1. Build a salad for storage
Toss in vegetables such as peppers, whole cherry and grape tomatoes, broccoli (best when blanched), scallions and carrots. These vegetables keep well and will last more than a day or so in the fridge. (If you’re aiming to store your salad leftovers, avoid things like cut tomatoes and sliced mushrooms which release moisture and can make lettuce slimy sooner. Avoid topping stored greens with dressing for the same reason.)

2. Make it a meal
Turn a salad into a complete dinner by adding meat, nuts or dried or fresh fruits. One of Vitetta-Miller’s favorite combinations includes mandarin oranges, red onion and slivered almonds.

3. Keep great toss-ins and toppers on hand, such as:

  • Grilled chicken or shrimp
  • Marinated and cubed tofu
  • Torn smoked turkey breast or ham
  • Shredded low-fat cheese or crumbled feta
  • Chopped hard-boiled eggs or egg whites
  • Toasted pine nuts, sunflower or sesame seeds, fat-free croutons or imitation bacon bits for crunch
  • Sliced seedless grapes, diced mango or dried fruits for sweetness
  • Sliced hearts of palm or quartered canned artichoke hearts for an exotic flair.

 

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