"Healthy Salads: Organic veggies in a jiffy"

Good with the right amount of fiber

Vegetables usually found in salads are those that are rich in fiber – lettuce, carrots, celery, cucumber, spinach and turnips, to name some. There is no danger of over eating them even in large amounts especially in cases of constipation. Because they are low in energy density, over eating will not result to calorie or cholesterol build-up.

Host to powerful anti-oxidants

Lycopene, folic acid, vitamins E and C and alpha and beta carotene are just some of the chemical compounds present in your salads – the same compounds that help prevent chronic illnesses and cancer diseases. The more you consume them the better.

Eat your salad with the healthy fat                                

The best partner to your salad is a dressing in olive oil base. Olive oil is a form of unsaturated fat  that is heart-friendly. Likewise it is rich in vitamin E that aids in the absorption of the body of the nutrients supplied by the vegetables.   

Add meat to make your salad a complete meal

Toss in some chunks of roasted chicken or grilled tuna for added punch of protein in this already-complete meal. Some individuals prefer to pair their salads with consommé  or light cream soup for a more satisfying meal.

Here’s a simple but nutritious salad recipe that you can try, courtesy of Cook Smart for a Healthy Heart, Reader's Digest Canada.

ASIAN CHICKEN SALAD

 This chicken salad has an Asian twist. Fried chicken is tossed with oranges, green onions, snow peas and lychees and is then crowned with a drizzle of creamy peanut dressing. What a treat for your heart and your taste buds!

 (Ingredients)

500 g romaine lettuce
150 g snow peas
1 can (398 ml) lychees, drained and cut in half
1 large navel orange, peeled and cut into sections
1 red plum, pitted and sliced 
4 green onions, thinly sliced
370 g chicken breasts

 Creamy Peanut Dressing

1⁄3 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
4 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1 garlic clove, finely chopped

 Finely shred the lettuce and place in a bowl. Trim the snow peas and remove the strings. Cut the snow peas in half on the diagonal and add them to the bowl. Add the lychees, orange, plum and green onions and toss to combine.

Coat a heavy-based frying pan with non-stick cooking spray and set over medium-high heat until hot, about 2 minutes. Fry the chicken until cooked through, about 4 minutes on each side.

 To make the dressing, whisk the mayonnaise, peanut butter and garlic in a small cup. Cut the chicken diagonally into thin slices and add the strips to the bowl. Just before serving, drizzle the Asian chicken salad with the dressing and toss to coat. serves 4

PER SERVING

404 calories
32 g protein
18 g total fat
4 g saturated fat
75 mg cholesterol
29 g total carbohydrate
26 g sugars

8 g fibre
382 mg sodium

This salad works with many types of cooked lean meat and seafood. In place of the chicken, cook the same amount of boneless lamb, turkey breast, pork fillet, beef fillet or large shrimp.