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10 Tips and Tricks for Healthy Summer Salads

Cool, easy, delicious ... Toss one together tonight!

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3. Lighten up your homemade dressing by substituting a flavorful, liquid-type ingredient for half (or more) of the oil. Try fat-free sour cream; plain yogurt; fruit juice or fruit nectars; tomato, carrot or V-8 juice; honey or light corn syrup (eliminate any sugar called for in the recipe if you use these); wine, champagne, or nonalcoholic beer; or low-sodium chicken broth.

4. Lighten up regular (that is, not light) bottled salad dressing. Just blend a tablespoon of the dressing (per serving) with a tablespoon of any of the oil substitutes listed above. For example, whisk 1/4 cup of Gerard's Caesar Salad dressing with 1/4 cup of apple juice or champagne. Or blend 1/4 cup of raspberry or Italian vinaigrette with 1/4 cup raspberry or cherry juice.

5. Try some new salad recipes instead of the traditional, mayo-drenched coleslaw and potato salad. Pesto sauce blended with condensed chicken broth, fat-free sour cream, or fat free half-and-half makes a fun and different dressing. Bottled or homemade vinaigrettes can be used as dressing for pasta and potato salads and coleslaw.

6. When you DO make a mayonnaise-based salad, lighten it up by mixing regular or light mayonnaise with your favorite fat-free or light sour cream. I like to use about 1 tablespoon of regular mayonnaise with 3 tablespoons of fat-free sour cream, or 2 tablespoons of light mayonnaise with 2 tablespoons of fat-free sour cream.

7. Perk up pasta and rice salads by tossing in crunchy veggies. They'll add fiber and nutrients without a lot of calories. Snow peas, cherry tomato halves, broccoli or cauliflower florets, green onions, bell peppers ... they all work great.

8. Try the new whole-wheat pasta blends for your pasta-salad recipes, and brown rice for your rice-salad recipes. You'll increase the fiber, vitamins, and minerals and phytochemicals just by making this adjustment.

9. Use dark green lettuce for your green salad. The darker green the lettuce, generally the more vitamins and phytochemicals it contains. Two of the best choices are spinach and romaine lettuce. And while it isn't dark green, cabbage is also a good choice. As a member of the cruciferous vegetable family, it contributes important protective phytochemicals such as indole-3-carbinol.

10. Kick the flavor up a notch with high-flavor (but lower calorie) ingredients like dill pickle relish, fresh herbs and spices, spicy mustard, flavored vinegars (such as balsamic vinegar), green onions, or a handful of toasted nuts or a tablespoon or two of chopped green olives (a little goes a long way).

And now for the recipes:

Quick and Light Greek Salad

Journal as: 1 cup "side salad green" + 1 ounce low-fat cheese.

Here's a little something different to bring to barbecues and picnics for a taste of the Mediterranean.

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