Caprese Salad

PC: ThePioneerWoman.com

Ingredients:

  • 1 Large Heirloom Tomato

  • 1 Small Bunch of Fresh Basil

  • 1 Large Ball of Fresh Mozzarella

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Balsamic Vinegar, and Salt and Pepper to taste

Preparation:

1. Wash and dry tomatoes. Rinse basil and dry.

2. Slice tomato and cheese width-wise, to approximately the same size. Separate individual basil leaves.

3. Lay out tomato, cheese and basil in alternating pattern around each plate.

4. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

5. Enjoy! 

Build a Better Salad!

Congrats! You’ve made it through Summer’s hottest months. But if you are like me, you are probably denying that it is ever going to end and still trying to squeeze in that last bit of fun outdoors. As a result, spending time inside cooking is probably last on your list. But with a multitude of end-of-summer activities, you need to fuel your body somehow. So what’s the solution?

Salad! Salad is the perfect easy meal. It’s light, fresh, quick, and since salad leaves naturally contain water, it’s even hydrating. But with so many options for creating a salad, it can be tough to know what to choose. Here’s a step-by-step guide to ensure your salad is not only healthy but also delicious.

Step 1

Start with lots of leafy greens. This is an easy way to fill out the bulk of your salad while adding a lot of nutritional value without adding calories. Find information on how to choose the best salad greens here.

  • Spinach is the number one salad green, packing over twice the daily value of Vitamin K along with high levels of potassium and calcium.
  • Romaine is a close second, beating out spinach only in Vitamin A content.
  • Other options are Swiss Chard and Kale, which both boast super high antioxidant content. These are not commonly available at salad bars, but can be found in the produce aisle.

Step 2

Now comes the fun part: adding fruits and vegetables to the mix. As a general rule, the colors of fruits and vegetables indicate which nutrients they contain. Focus on getting a little of each color in your salad to maximize their benefits. With so many options this is where you can get creative with your salad depending on your preferences.

  • Excellent veggies for salads include sliced cucumber, cherry tomatoes, shredded carrots, onions, mushrooms, beets, and broccoli
  • Add fruits such as avocado, chopped apples, pears, grapes, cantaloupe or strawberries

Step 3

Add a lean protein. Lean protein will help you feel fuller longer as well as help build lean muscle mass.

  • White meat chicken or turkey
  • Fish is one of the healthiest sources of lean protein because it is lowest in saturated fat. A good choice for fish is salmon, because it contains high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids (or good fats).
  • Hard-boiled eggs

Step 4

Add some extra crunch. Nuts and seeds are full of good-for-you fats and are high in fiber and antioxidants. Some great nuts for salads are almonds, walnuts, and pecans. Another way to add crunch without nuts is to use crushed pita chips.

 Step 5

It is smart to use discretion when adding dressing to your salad to avoid dousing your healthy salad with unnecessary calories. A good way to control the amount of dressing is to ask for it on the side. Stay away from creamy dressings, as just two tablespoons of the average ranch dressing contain about 14 grams of fat. Instead look for an olive oil-based dressing like this one,  which contains half the amount of fat but still adds flavor.

Looking to put your brand new salad building skills to work? Try the Hub at West Village’s Kitchen, which has a variety of tasty options at their salad bar. The Hub Kitchen is currently featuring seasonal vegetables grown at the UC Davis Student Farm, including Sungold tomatoes, lemon cucumbers, Basil, and Summer Squash. Don’t forget to ‘Like’ them on Facebook to stay up-to-date on all of the Hub’s specials at https://www.facebook.com/HubWestVillage.

Ask a Dietitian! We are compiling a list of nutrition-related questions readers have for a special post in September. Simply fill out your name, email, and question in the feedback form below. 

Healthy Summer BBQ

SummerBBQproof


Sometimes I forget why I like summer, especially with temperatures rising to 106 degrees.

But then I remember how much I like warm nights, barbeques, fireworks, outdoor activities, the beach, oh and did I mention barbeques? There’s no better way to enjoy summer than being able to grill up anything and everything. From fruits to steaks the possibilities are endless.

The good news is that there are health benefits to grilling. One example is that cooking vegetables on the grill is quick, allowing them to retain vitamins and minerals. Although grilling can be made healthy, many of us end up eating meats that are high in saturated fat, cholesterol, and carcinogens when charred. Instead of loading up on high fat meats, try some of these healthy recipes at your next barbeque!

Appetizer
Grilled Baby Artichokes
Did you know that artichokes are a good source of vitamin C? Vitamin C helps our bodies absorb iron and plays an important role in immune function. Artichokes are also high in folate, magnesium, and fiber!
Artichokes
This recipe includes a flavorful dipping sauce that’s made with light mayo and Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt’s thick and creamy consistency allows it to be a healthy substitute for mayonnaise in many recipes.

Salad
Grilled Green Bean Salad. 
I love how simple this recipe is! This salad is a good base to add any herbs or vegetables that will accompany your main meal. What’s even better is that green beans are high in calcium, which is important for building strong bones and teeth. 
GreenBeans

Main Dish
Thai Chicken Burgers. 
Burgers and barbeques go hand in hand. Instead of grilling the usual beef patty, try making your own patty with ground chicken! Compared to ground beef, ground chicken is lower in calories and saturated fat.

Turkey-Burger

You don’t have to sacrifice flavor by adding fresh ingredients like onion and garlic. This recipe takes creative spin on a burger by packing Asian flavors with sesame oil and garlic chili. The best part? Peanut sauce.

Tofu Lettuce Wraps. Grilling isn’t just about meat anymore. Venture out and try these tofu lettuce wraps that are perfect for a hot summer day. What’s tofu? Tofu, commonly used in Asian cuisine, is made from soybeans that are high in protein. Soy protein has been shown to lower bad cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease.
By Erin Gleeson

Sides
Grilled Asparagus and Cilantro Pepita Pesto. 
Asparagus is an easy vegetable to grill during the summer and what better way to serve them than with a cilantro pepita pesto. Pepita is another name for pumpkin seed and is packed with nutritional value from vitamins to amino acids. It also contains omega- 3 fatty acids that help reduce inflammation and the risk of heart disease.
Asparagus
Dessert
Red, White, and Blue Popsicles. There’s nothing quite as refreshing in 100 degree weather than a good popsicle. Homemade popsicles are a simple alternative to buying popsicles at the grocery store that are full of artificial coloring and added sugar. These popsicles look delicious with the balance between refreshing berries and creamy yogurt. You’ll feel guilt-free while eating one of these because berries are full of antioxidants.

Popsicles

Drink
Strawberry Lemonade. Only four ingredients? I’m sold. When a drink is this easy, there’s no reason to buy soda for your next summer barbeque. Fresh strawberries and lemons are the stars of this drink that balance each other nicely between sweet and tart. Not only do the lemons add a nice tang but they also contain antioxidants and are good sources of electrolytes that help maintain your body’s function.

Lemonade