(Family Features) - As the temperature rises, people are looking for light and nutritious recipes to ease them into a healthier swimsuit season. As summer approaches, salads become even more of a staple.
Tasty salads are easy to prepare and are healthy and light for those who don't want to eat rich and bulky foods before slipping into shorts or sundresses.
What can quickly raise the calorie and fat level of the salad is the dressing. People don't need to add heavier tasting, creamy dressings for a delicious and satisfying salad. Yet, an appropriate amount of fats and oils - about 30 percent of total calories from fat - is considered an essential part of a healthy diet. For a best dressed salad, make the dressing base from a light-tasting oil, choose from a myriad of vinegars and add zest with herbs and seasoning. Though the light-tasting oils have the same calories per serving as other vegetable oils, they are also easily incorporated into any vinaigrette-style dressing.
Oils like diglyceride-rich DAG (diacylglycerol), canola and olive oils are recommended as light-tasting options. DAG oil, in particular, is clinically shown to store less as fat in the body compared to traditional oils on the supermarket shelf. After becoming the No. 1 selling oil in Japan, DAG oil is now available in the U.S. market under the brand name Enova oil (www.enovaoil.com). It has a light, mild flavor that will make a delicious and healthy vinaigrette.
"As the new Dietary Guidelines push Americans to get 2 1/2 cups of vegetables a day, salads are a great way to reach this goal," said Hope Warshaw, registered dietitian and author of Eat Out, Eat Right (Surrey Books, 2003). "Making a healthy salad dressing like the summer vinaigrette made with Enova oil, helps you get the health benefits from the vegetables without chalking up a lot of calories from excess fat. It's making simple lifestyle changes like choosing and using the right oils that will help you maintain good health for the long run."
To get the most out of a summer salad follow these simple tips:
- Substitute light vinaigrettes for heavier, creamy salad dressings.
- Use light-tasting oil in your dressings like DAG, olive or canola.
- Add fruit to your green salads like diced peaches, grapefruit and plums.
- Top salads with foods rich in healthy antioxidants, such as walnuts, almonds and berries.