Don’t Eat Spinach or Kale Unless You’re Doing This Too

Whether it’s for a new years resolution, more energy, vitamins or just better health in general, adding more leafy greens to the menu is always a good idea. Spinach and Kale are in the spotlight lately with salads, breakfast bowls, smoothies, “Buddha Bowls”, omelets and more. But, you shouldn’t be eating these leafy greens unless you’re also having a healthy fat at the same meal. If you don’t, you’ll be missing out on a big chunk of the nutrition you were looking for. But how and why should you do this? Find out with this article.

What is a fat soluble vitamin?
A fat soluble vitamin is a healthy organic compound that your body can only absorb if a fat is present at the same time the vitamin is consumed. Only a lipid can dissolve (and make useful) the vitamins A, D, E and K. It is the small intestine’s job to absorb these vitamins in their lipid droplets as they pass through it along with other foods. The vitamins are then either stored in the tissue of the body, or used to do their job in various body functions. Spinach, kale and other leafy greens are a great source of these fat soluble essential compounds.

So where’s the problem?
If there isn’t a lipid present in the small intestine along with these vitamins, they’ll just be ignored by the body and won’t do you any good. Having a spinach salad with no fats at all at dinner, and then eating a dessert with fats later won’t help. The spinach enters the intestine first, and without fat where it breaks down, the vitamins aren’t absorbed.

This used to combated with salad dressings like the traditional oil and vinegar dressing. However, these days you’ll run into two extremes of dressing; the low fat/non fat variety, and the restaurant type where it has way too many fats, sugars or other additives that make the salad not worth its while. The other issue is inside of smoothies, bowls, and greens at breakfast. Unless they’re in an omelet, there’s unlikely to be a fat on the table at the same time. A smoothie with kale, banana, pineapple and rice milk is common… but where’s that healthy fat? It’s just missing.

Healthy fats and vitamins working together for you:
Now that you know how fat soluble vitamins work, you’ll want to work on getting some healthy fat into the meal at the same time. Of course, not all fats are created equal. There’s the nasty ‘trans fat’ you hear about in the news, plus monounsaturated fats, animal fats, hydrogenated oils, unhydrogenated oils, plant fats, omega 3s, omega 6s, middle-chain triglycerides and fish oils… the list just goes on and on.
But, choosing the right type of fat is important for good absorption and good health. Of course, trans-fats are no good, so what’s a healthy, easy and versatile one to choose? Plant sourced lipids are a good place to start. Unlike hydrogenated oils they may not be all that shelf stable or long lasting, but neither is fresh fruit and nobody seems to mind. Good sources of these include nuts, nut-butters, seeds, avocado, olive oil, coconut oil, cacao nibs and tahini.

The solution is delicious (and easy!)
If you’re setting out to have a salad, consider making your own dressing. It’s often as easy as pour, shake to mix & then use. Also consider crunching up your salad with sunflower seeds, chia seeds, or nuts instead of croutons. Each seed and nut has healthy omega 3 oils, protein and a great taste and texture for the salad. Include olive oil: preferably cold press / first press. Olive oil is rich with just the kind of healthy fats needed for the great vitamins in a healthy salad. Omega 3 and 6 oils, when they are in balance, help form healthy skin membranes (for young looking skin), contribute to brain health, and help nourish hair follicles. An olive oil based salad dressing with healthy seeds in it like chia, used over a baby-spinach salad & topped with crunchy nuts is a healthy and tasty way to get started.

Do you want to try a make at home dressing?
This recipe is super simple to start you off right.
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon dry chia seeds
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Simply combine all ingredients in a lidded container and shake to mix. You’re now ready for salad!
When you mix up quick dressings at home, you don’t get preservatives, artificial colors or flavors, and you get just the taste you want. The internet is a wealth of easy dressing recipes, just a search away.

How about those breakfast bowls?
Don’t like salad? That’s OK, there’s a fun, fruity way to get your greens… without even tasting them! The answer here is the smoothie or breakfast bowl. When you blend kale with pineapple and banana… you don’t even taste it. (Kale is notoriously a little bit bitter and tough, not everybody’s going to enjoy eating the leaves, no matter what you top them with) However, nobody wants olive oil in the blender & coconut oil will just make it greasy.

You can let nut butter be one of your answers here. A swirl of natural peanut butter (skip that high fructose corn syrup stuff), or a spoon full of almond-butter is super in chocolate or berry smoothies. Naturally, any smoothie or bowl can be topped with nuts to add crunch and the healthy fats you need as well. But what if you’ve got a bowl where nut butter just won’t work?

The sweet or savory omega-3 oil solution seed
The problem (if it could even be called that) with the other healthy fats on the list is either the texture (oily oils!) or the taste (no one wants a walnut in their pineapple). So, what if you could have something with calcium, magnesium, b-vitamins, omega 3 healthy oils, antioxidants, complete plant protein AND two kinds of fiber… that didn’t change the taste of the food?

You’d really be in business for healthier eating… and you’d have the chia seed on your side. Chia seeds are tiny, so they’ll blend or mix into almost anything. They also don’t have a flavor, so you’ll never taste them… but they do contain that whole list of benefits seen above, and more. They’re perfect for adding to any smoothie or bowl because they don’t alter the flavor. They’re great for savory salad dressings, soups and sandwiches too because they’re as easy to use as ‘sprinkle it in’. When you have chia, you don’t have to worry about getting the healthy fats into any flavor of green smoothie or bowl.

With this knowledge, you can now enjoy your greens more and enjoy more nutrition from them as well. By choosing the right kinds of fats and exploring more flavor options your spinach and kale can go well beyond the salad and you’ll know you’re always getting all the available vitamins and minerals. Eating better every day doesn’t have to be difficult, and when you’re feeling the results, it’s easy to want to keep going. Seek out the combinations you love and easy sources of omega 3s & you’ll be on the way to better health.

 

Amazing Dressing Recipes That Will Make Any Green Salad A Winner

Most greens have a neutral taste, so the dressing you use for your salad plus other ingredients like herbs and spiced you add will greatly impact the taste of the whole dish. The good news is that you can customize the taste according to your mood – whether you like something light and creamy or something heavy and bursting with flavour.

Here are 3 salad dressing recipes that will bring your greens and veggies to life:

Honey Raspberry Vinaigrette

 

  • 1 cup fresh raspberries
  • 2/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine raspberries and white sugar in a bowl and leave for 10 to 15 minutes until mixture is juicy. Mash berries using a fork until liquefied (or pulse in a blender for 30 seconds if you prefer dressing to be smoother). Pour into a glass jar with a lid then add balsamic vinegar, olive oil, honey and salt to the jar. Cover and shake until well combined. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Cheesy Peppercorn Dressing

 

  • 2 cups plain low-fat yogurt
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, or more to taste
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped green onion
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or more to taste

In a bowl, mix together yogurt, parmesan cheese, onion, parsley mayonnaise, ground black pepper and salt. Slowly add and stir in milk until desired thinness is achieved. Add more cheese or salt to adjust the taste. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

Sweet Bacon Dressing

 

  • 8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 teaspoons corn starch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Whisk together sugar, corn starch and salt in a medium bowl. Slowly stir in vinegar and water, whisking constantly. Place crumbled bacon in a skillet over medium heat then pour sugar mixture over bacon. Cook and stir constantly until mixture thickens. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

3 Must Try Fresh Salads For A Healthy Meal

A green salad is a perfect go-to meal when you’re in the mood for something in between – a meal that’s not too light but not too heavy either. It is easy to prepare and you can choose what dressing to use according to your current mood.

If you’re in the mood for something refreshing yet easy to prepare for your next meal, here are 3 green salad recipes to try:

Mint Greens Mix

 

  • 4 cups fresh spinach
  • 1 cup sliced avocado
  • 1 cup sliced cantaloupe
  • 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 1 tablespoon mint apple jelly
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

In a medium bowl, combine vegetable oil, mint apple jelly, white wine vinegar and garlic to make the dressing. Divide spinach leaves, avocado and cantaloupe between 2 serving plates then sprinkle with red bell pepper and mint leaves. Pour dressing over salad, toss and serve.

Tropical Twist Green Salad

 

  • 1/4 fresh pineapple, peeled, cored and chopped
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 cups torn arugula leaves
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Mix together apple cider vinegar, olive oil, maple syrup and salt in a bowl to make the vinaigrette. Set aside. In a salad bowl, combine pineapple, onion, arugula leaves and cilantro. Pour dressing over fresh ingredients and toss to coat. Serve immediately.

The Orange Surprise

 

  • 1 can mandarin oranges, drained
  • 4 cups baby spinach
  • 4 cups mixed salad greens
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup creamy salad dressing
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon poppy seeds

To make the dressing, whisk together creamy salad dressing, white sugar, white vinegar and poppy seeds in a bowl. Place mandarin oranges, baby spinach, mixed salad greens, and red onion in a serving plate and top with slivered almonds. Drizzle poppy seed dressing over salad and toss to coat before serving.

Regular consumption of fresh salads will keep your body healthy and energized. Not only that, your appetite will be satisfied as well. Try these delicious and refreshing green salad recipes for your next meal – you’ll definitely want to start eating healthy more!

 

Quick and Healthy Pasta Salad Recipes For Your Next Brunch

For brunch, we always prefer a meal that’s neither light or heavy. Some people might find a green salad too light but a pasta dish too heavy. Combine these two dishes and you’ll have the perfect brunch meal – one that would satisfy your appetite just right!

Here are 3 quick and healthy pasta recipes perfect for brunch:

Italian-Style Cold Pasta Salad

 

  • 10 cherry tomatoes
  • 2 cucumbers, chopped
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 3/4 cups rotini pasta
  • 1 cup Italian-style salad dressing
  • 3/4 cup pitted black olives, sliced

Cook rotini pasta to al dente in a large pot of lightly salted water according to package instructions. Drain pasta in a colander and place under cool running water in the sink to cool. When ready, mix together rotini pasta, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, onion, black olives and Italian-style salad dressing in a large salad bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours before serving.

Delicious Mac-Tuna Salad

 

  • 3 cups macaroni
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 can tuna, drained
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup Italian-style salad dressing
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Cook macaroni to al dente according to package instructions. Drain and place in a large salad bowl along with Italian-style salad dressing. Stir to coat pasta with dressing. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. When ready, add celery, onion, tuna, mayonnaise, sour cream, salt, garlic powder and black pepper to the bowl. Mix ingredients well. Chill for at least 1 hour before serving.

BLT Delight

 

  • 1/2 kilogram sliced bacon
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cups medium seashell pasta
  • 1 1/2 cups light Ranch-style salad dressing

Cook seashell pasta to al dente according to package instructions. Drain, rinse under cool running water then set aside. In a skillet, cook bacon over medium-high heat until brown and crispy. Remove from heat and drain on paper towels. Mix together tomatoes, onion and Ranch-style salad dressing in a large salad bowl. Add cooked and pasta to the bowl and mix to coat with dressing. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to overnight. Crumble bacon over pasta salad before serving.

Salad Days

Some forms of salad have been consumed for centuries, originally made mostly of cabbage and root vegetables, flavored with vinegar, oils and herbs. Ancient Greeks believed that raw green vegetables promoted good digestion, and the Romans agreed. Early recordings of lettuce appeared back in the 6th century B.C. although it bore little resemblance to our current varieties.

Salads have come a long way since the pedestrian lettuce, tomato and cucumber version. Today there is no end to the hundreds of varieties, ingredients and dressings available to our salad-crazed nation. In the 1920s, they hit the big time, as restaurant chefs created Caesar, Chef, Cobb and fruit salads. Canned veggies and fruits became more available and were tossed into the mix, allowing Americans to eat salads year ’round. Simple vinegar and oil made room for bottled dressings and mayo, paving the way for “bound salads.” Sounds a little kinky, but this category includes some of our favorites: tuna salad, chicken salad, egg salad, ham salad, shrimp and crab salad. The chicken came first, showing up in mid-1800s cookbooks, tuna much later with the advent of canned tuna. In the late 1930s, Spam made ham salad easy, and egg salad was a natural. With the introduction of Jello gelatin, molded salads took their colorful place at any luncheon.

Restauranteur Robert Cobb created the salad that bears his name at his Brown Derby restaurant in Hollywood; chef salad debuted at the Ritz Carlton in New York and originally included sliced ox tongue along with ham and cheese. (Mercifully, in later years, turkey or chicken replaced the ox tongue.) In Hollywood’s early days, Caesar salad was embraced by the stars, who happily munched on this trendy salad at some of their favorite restaurants. The creator, Caesar Cardini, eventually bottled and sold his trademark dressing in the Los Angeles area. A favorite restaurant in Chicago, the Blackhawk, featured their signature “spinning salad bowl” along with every entree on the menu, served tableside.

French chefs made vinaigrette dressing with oil, herbs, chopped shallots, and paprika, throughout the 1800s.Those especially adventurous added tomato sauce, which became the foundation for classic French dressing. Kraft Foods, in 1939, introduced their popular version, orange in color. Boomers remember it drizzled over iceberg lettuce. Miracle Whip appeared around the same time, labeled salad dressing but primarily used to hold together chopped meat, chicken or eggs for a tasty sandwich filling. In the 1920’s, Green Goddess dressing was created at a San Francisco restaurant in honor of a play by the same name. (Good thing Death of a Salesman didn’t debut that same year.)

Colonial America grew lettuce in their home gardens, along with cabbage, beans and root vegetables. A delicate seasonal food, it was enjoyed in summer only and not available year ’round until the 20th century, when California grew and shipped head lettuce nationwide. No question foodie president Thomas Jefferson experimented with a number of varieties which were served daily to his family and dinner guests, with vinaigrette dressing or a sprinkling of herbs and mayonnaise (his chef was French-trained).

As Americans developed more sophisticated tastes, traditional iceberg lettuce took a backseat to Romaine, arugula, endive, radicchio and field greens. Originally these varieties were considered greens for the elite due to price and perishability. Of late, retro salads are showing up with quarters of iceberg lettuce and dressing. For Boomers who grew up on the stuff, it harkens back to the 50s along with Spam salad, meatloaf, canned fruit cocktail and Popsicles.

With Americans’ love for pasta, it was only a matter of time before pasta salad emerged, first appearing as simple macaroni salad, giving way to more sophisticated versions and add-ins.

European immigrants brought their potato salad recipes to America, both cold and hot, which utilized the inexpensive and easy-to-grow potato as a hearty base. Europe was serving up potato salad as early as the 1600s, usually mixed with vinegar, oil and bacon, the forerunner of German potato salad, served hot. Warmer climates enjoyed potatoes cold with cream and vegetables.The French, no slouches in the cuisine department, took it one step further, adding mayonnaise, herbs and mustard, Dijon of course. (No self-respecting Frenchman would even think of using yellow mustard as Americans do.)

Since the 1970s, when salad bars became de rigueur, the lowly salad has taken center stage, no longer an afterthought alongside a main course. Supermarkets feature prepackaged lettuce and salad fixings, boxed pasta salad mix and rows of greens and colorful vegetables, all waiting to be dressed up. No longer considered “rabbit food,” we can indulge almost anywhere. So belly up to the bar and dig in.