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Greens, greens the musical ... oops, wrong song

June 25, 2013 - Taste Buds
It's salad season! The Buds love salads... our co-workers always "Ooooh!" and "Aaahh!" over our lovely creations we bring for lunch.

Greens are GREAT for you - especially the dark, leafy variety. That's because they are packed with tons of good-for-you vitamins like K, C, E and B and minerals like calcium, potassium and iron. Some varieties also contain beta carotene and lutein - those are good for our eyes.

The Buds prefer the dark leafy greens over the boring, mostly water iceberg lettuce. Both Buds tend to favor spinach - which just so happens to be one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet! Tossed in a salad, sauteed for a side dish, or even in a nutritional smoothie (Bud Shaunna loves these, but they make Bud Em gag), spinach rules!

But the Buds just don't stop at spinach. There are other greens we love, including kale. The green variety of kale tends to be more bitter than the purple variety, but the purple variety is hard to find (unless you buy it at a farmer's market in the summer, which is highly recommended, by the way!). Kale is great sauteed, but it's also good in a salad if you chop it in smaller pieces. It also works in smoothies, but Bud Shaunna finds it doesn't blend up very well even with her two-blade Ninja blender.

One of the best bets for a variety of greens is to buy a package of spring mix at the grocery store. Usually those are filled with spinach, romaine, chard, arugula, radicchio and oak leaf varieties. The Buds are partial to the "herb blend" spring mixes that contain a variety of leafy greens and also fresh herbs like dill, cilantro and parsley.

Bud Em is currently into fruit type salads. She likes adding chopped strawberries and bleu cheese to her greens, as well as topping it with chicken or tuna and raspberry dressing. Um, YUM! Bud Shaunna also likes fruit in her salad, but prefers a different fruit - avocado (yes, it's a fruit). She likes to add a half of a diced avocado, diced bell peppers and cucumbers to her greens. Top that with chopped almonds (or walnuts), feta cheese and homemade balsamic vinaigrette (super easy - olive oil, balsamic vinegar and dijon mustard, shake and pour!) and we've got ourselves a salad!

Other things the Buds like tossing onto their salads are diced apples or pears. Also, try cabbage, which contains massive amounts of Vitamin C. Bud Shaunna likes Napa cabbage - chop and mix with your leafy greens for a nice crunch and variety. Looking for something totally different to add in your salad? Try jicama - it's crunchy and tasty, and the texture will remind you of a raw potato.

Just remember that you don't want to overpower your salad with sugary, fatty salad dressings. Bud Em prefers the light or low fat varieties, and Bud Shaunna likes to make her own. But no matter where you get your dressing, just remember moderation. You want your salad to glisten, not drown!

So what are your favorite salad toppings? Tis the season for fresh veggies, so you might as well take advantage!


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