Summer salads to the rescue!

Summer salads are a tasty, nutritious meal solution for hot, summer days.

Summer salads are both tasty and nutritious choices for summer meals. There are so many different combinations to put together; there’s really no right or wrong way to put together a fresh summer salad.

Start by planning ahead; the next time you are grilling chicken or other meat such as pork or steak, save a few ounces for your salad. It’s easy to chop it into bite size pieces, place in a freezer bag and pop it into the freezer for a quick evening meal for this week or next week.

Summer produce is in abundance right now. Look for fresh berries, tasty greens, fresh green onions, summer squash and other salad fixings at your local farmers market or grocery store. Be sure to wash your produce with cold running water before putting your salad together. Pat with a clean paper towel to remove the excess moisture and cut into salad-size pieces. Add the thawed, grilled meat or poultry, a few nuts such as almonds or pecans, and your favorite salad dressing in moderation for a quick and easy main course. Add a slice of whole-grain bread, a glass of cold refreshing milk and some fresh fruit for dessert for a complete meal.

Salad greens such as leaf lettuce, arugula, baby spinach and other greens are good sources of vitamins A and C and other nutrients. If you need assistance identifying different types of salad greens, check out the fact sheet from Colorado State University Extension which features identifying photos of various salad greens along with ideas for using each type of salad green.

Salad greens as well as other fresh produce should be kept refrigerated until ready to use. Also, while shopping, keep fresh produce separated in your grocery cart from raw meat, poultry, fish and seafood to avoid cross contamination. Many grocery stores provide plastic bags for bagging raw meat, poultry and other foods from the meat department to avoid contaminating other foods with bacteria.

Always wash your hands with hot, soapy water before starting any type of food preparation, including fresh salads.

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