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6 Ways to Mix Up Your Salad

By YWCA Minneapolis
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Whether as its own meal or a side to your favorite entree, salads are a tasty and nutritious way to include produce in your diet. They’re also a great opportunity for adding in variety! If you’re bored with a salad, try switching it up for full satisfaction and enjoyment. In this blog post, our registered dietitian, Haylee, put together six tips to keep your salad game fresh — plus a recipe for a scrumptious chickpea salad!

1. Dress It Up

Adding a new dressing is a simple way to boost flavor variety. Oil-based dressings offer healthy fats with a lighter impact. Try making a dressing at home so you can play around with flavors while keeping your preferences and health needs in mind. Balsamic vinegarette, honey mustard, zesty lemon, avocado lime, Greek, sesame ginger… there are all sorts of dressings that can satisfy your craving!

2. Pump up the Protein

Explore different proteins for full flavor and satisfaction. Both animal or plant-based lean protein options help balance salads to fill you up and keep you full longer. Ex: rotisserie chicken, tuna canned in water, chickpeas, edamame, etc.

3. Gain Grains

Including grains in your salad provides carbohydrates to keep you full and energized. It also adds new and interesting flavor and texture!

Farro and tomato salad with fresh herbs.

4. Switch to Sweet

Used to savory salads? Switch it up with some fruit or a sweet dressing to include more flavors and produce options. Examples include adding berries, watermelon, mango, or topping with a sweet dressing like lemon poppyseed or a berry vinaigrette.

Homemade Autumn Apple Walnut Spinach Salad with Cheese and Cranberries
Spinach salad with apples, walnuts and craisins.

5. Leave the Lettuce

If greens aren’t your thing, that doesn’t mean you need to miss out on a tasty salad! Toss your favorite produce, nuts or seeds, protein and dressing together for a balanced salad that works for you!

6. Sample the Season

Try out seasonal foods for fresh options in your salad. Even fresher, grow your own produce and herbs, or use local options from farmer’s markets or community gardens to clean, chop, and add into a salad.

Chickpea salad with cucumber, tomato and red onion.

Salad Recipe:

  • ½ cucumber, chopped
  • ½ cup baby tomatoes, quartered
  • ½ cup garbanzo beans
  • ¼ cup red onion, diced
  • ½ cup kalamata olives, halved
  • Optional: add 2 cups of your favorite greens (lettuce, spinach, etc.)

Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Mix well and keep in an airtight container.

Bring your salad from drab to fab! Want more tips based on your preferences and needs? Meet with our YWCA Minneapolis registered dietitian nutritionist for personalized nutrition coaching.

Learn More about Nutrition Coaching

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