Salad 101

By on August 1, 2011

By Erin Chamerlik, MT (ASCP) –

For me, eating salads is not as much fun as eating a burger. As a nutrition educator I know I am supposed to be in love with this rabbit food but salads do not have the same appeal as a nice piece of fish or meat. I figured out the secret to getting me and my family to eat more salads.

1. Have a nice salad ready on the table by 4:00 p.m. when the mid-afternoon munchies hit. Do not have the salad competing with the hot meal, or the hot meal wins out. Even if dinner is not being prepared for a few hours, the salad is on the table beckoning the hungry household. You can accomplish the same goal by having fresh vegetables and hummus available for snacking.

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2. Make your own salad dressing. Finding a commercial salad dressing made with quality ingredients is harder than finding a needle in a haystack. Motivated to cut costs, food manufacturers are using cheap processed oils like soybean oil and adding unhealthy ingredients like corn syrup, sugar, artificial dye, propylene glycol, MSG and chemical preservatives. I make my own salad dressing and store it in a glass bottle formerly containing hot sauce. The shaker top makes it an ideal salad dressing bottle.

3. Use a variety of greens, vegetables, fruit, seeds and nuts. Skip the anemic iceberg lettuce and try romaine, green leaf, red leaf, Boston, prepackaged mixed greens, and spinach. Make the salad interesting by adding a variety of other ingredients:

• Cucumbers, summer squash, peas, radishes, carrots, fennel, celery, mushrooms, beets, olives, or avocado.
• Add beans, such as garbanzo or kidney.
• Add grains, such as brown rice or quinoa.
• Add nuts, such as walnuts, sliced almonds or cashews.
• Add seeds, such as sunflower, pumpkin or ground flaxseeds.
• Add hard cooked eggs, salmon, turkey, chicken, beef or sardines.
• Add apricots, apples, raisins, dried cranberries, pears, oranges or grapefruit
• Mix in grated carrots, beets and jicama or just sprinkle sprouts on top.

Below are two dressing recipes and two salad recipes for you to try.

Red Wine Vinaigrette
• 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
• 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
• 1 clove garlic, pressed
• 1 tsp dry mustard
• ½ tsp sea salt
• ½ tsp dried basil
• ½ tsp dried oregano
• ¼ tsp crushed red pepper

Italian Dressing
• 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
• ½ cup Balsamic vinegar
• 2 pressed garlic cloves
• ½ tsp dried oregano
• ¼ tsp dried basil
• ¼ tsp onion powder
• ¼ tsp sea salt

Waldorf Salad
• 1 cup diced cooked chicken
• 1 diced apple
• 1 diced celery stalk
• ¼ cup chopped walnuts
• 2 Tbs chopped parsley
• 3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
• 2 Tbs fresh lemon juice
• sea salt and pepper to taste

Spinach Salad
• Fresh baby spinach greens
• Add raisins, grapefruit, avocado, broccoli, onion
• For the dressing use fresh lemon juice and olive oil
• Add sardines or other fish or meat

Salads are refreshing, delicious and packed with vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. Enjoy trying new vegetables in your salads this summer by visiting your local farmer’s market.

Erin Chamerlik, MT (ASCP), is a regular Health & Fitness contributor for LivingBetterat50+. Erin offers e-courses for uncovering food sensitivities and improving candidiasis. Nutrition and wellness consultations are available through local and long distance coaching. Please visit Erin’s website at for more information or to receive her free newsletter.

About Erin Chamerlik

Erin Chamerlik is a health and wellness educator. She is a mentor and coach for people who are ready to change. Her company, Get Better Wellness, Inc., is based in Nashville, TN. Erin extends her message through blogging, podcasts, social media (Twitter, FaceBook, Pinterest and Instagram), workshops and on-line webinars and Facebook health communities. Connect with Erin at

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Salad 101