Are salads healthy? Yes. Do you need to be content with the standard lettuce and tomato salads? No. Is it easy to spruce up your salads? Yes. Does it take a lot of time and money to add extra ingredients to a salad? No. We are going to show you that with a little creativity your basic green salad will not only look more inviting, but it will taste great too.

We have all enjoyed a salad as either a side dish, a main dish, or as a snack to tide us over between main meals. The American Heart Association advocates nutritional salads for a healthier lifestyle. In addition to the wellness benefits, there are plenty of fruits and vegetables full of fluids that help to keep you hydrated. This is especially important for seniors, caregivers, and Medicare recipients of all ages who are trying to maintain a well-balanced diet.

Tips for Sprucing up a Salad

1. Leafy Greens: For most salads, the basic ingredient is a leafy green vegetable, which may not always be green. Dark leafy green can be spinach, romaine lettuce, or arugula. But, red cabbage, red lettuce, and radicchio count as leafy greens. Spruce up a green salad by adding fresh herbs, croutons, a sliced hardboiled egg, a few raisins, and a light olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing to mix in nutrients, protein, and healthy fat for a flavorful, crunchy dish.

2. Fruits: Begin with a shredded romaine lettuce base and toss in some chopped seasonal fresh fruit or whole berries for a tasty, colorful, naturally sweet healthy salad. Spruce up your fruit salad with a low-fat Greek yogurt dressing.

3. Raw Vegetables: Most fresh vegetables are low in cholesterol, and both saturated and trans fats. Vegetables that add nutrients and color to a salad are sliced carrots, bell peppers, raw cauliflower, and raw broccoli buds. Sliced cucumbers, tomatoes, and celery are full of natural water content that helps you stay hydrated. Spruce up your vegetable salad with a creamy homemade French dressing made from a mixture of ketchup and low-fat mayonnaise.

4. Poultry, Fish and Seafood: If you like something meatier in your salad, add protein with a few pieces of skinless, shredded grilled chicken breast or turkey breast. Add pieces of tuna or grilled salmon for both protein and healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Add pieces of low-calorie fresh seafood such as shrimp, crab meat, cod, or herring that are good sources of protein. These extra ingredients add flavor and leave you feeling satisfied for longer periods of time. Spruce of your salad with a sprinkle of fresh lemon or lime juice.

5. Cheese: Low-fat cottage cheese and grated Romano cheese are excellent salad add-ons. Grated Swiss and Mozzarella cheeses are low-sodium cheeses that add a zesty flavor and a touch of color to salads. Spruce up the taste with a flavorful vinaigrette dressing made of light olive oil, wine vinegar, Italian spices, and ground black pepper.

6. Beans and Peas: Toss in fresh or canned chickpeas, peas, black beans, kidney beans, or navy beans for nutritional protein. Beans and peas are a good source of fiber and can help to lower blood sugar levels. Spruce up your bean and green salad with a savory plum vinaigrette that will give you a delightful fruity flavor.

7. Unsalted Nut Pieces: If you are looking for some healthy fat and protein, mix in some unsalted pieces of walnuts, peanuts, pistachios, or sliced almonds. The nuts add a crunchy, delicious taste to any salad. Spruce up your salad with a mouth pleasing vinaigrette made from olive oil, rice or wine vinegar, fresh ground black pepper, and a touch of honey.

Bye-Bye Boring and Hello Spruced Up Salads
Regardless of your age or health condition, there is a flavorful, healthy salad combination that will fit into your daily lifestyle. Salads and dressing ingredients are budget-friendly for Medicare recipients of all ages. Salad dishes are good for your wellbeing, they do not have to be boring, and with a few added touches you can spruce up your salad to please your flavor buds, your wallet, and your overall health. Forks up!

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