TheBUZZ Eating more salad is one of the easiest habits you can adopt for better health.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Eating a salad a few times a week can significantly increase your vegetable intake, providing more of the nutrients your body needs to stay healthy. Adding a salad to your meals every day is one of the simplest dietary changes you can make to improve your health.
WHAT WE KNOW
Vegetable consumption in the U.S. is less than 1 cup per day, far lower than the recommended amount – 3 cups.¹ Most Americans need to eat more vegetables, especially dark green and orange vegetables, to manage their weight and lower their risk of disease. Eating a mixed green salad with raw fruits and vegetables combined with low-fat dressing and toppings provides the fiber and antioxidants needed for good health, and represents one of the easiest eating habits you can adopt for better health.
HOW DO WE KNOW THIS
Researchers at UCLA found that access to and availability of fruits and vegetables are key factors in adopting good-eating habits. Their study showed that students ate more fruits and vegetables when the school salad bar program was introduced. The frequency of the students’ fruit and vegetable consumption rose 40%, from 2.97 to 4.09 times daily.²
At home or when eating out, reach for a salad most days to increase your intake of healthy fruits and veggies! Also, encourage your children to choose lunch from their school salad bar, if one is available. No salad bar at your school? Check out the Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools program.
Here are some ideas to help you out at home …
- Easy Measuring. Fill half your plate with your favorite mixed green salad – no measuring required!
- Dining Out. When dining out, choose a healthy salad for your main course. Salads are widely available in restaurants and many fast-food chains.
- Famished? Take advantage of convenience foods to quickly build your own salad at home. Purchase pre-packaged, pre-washed salads and add your favorite low-fat, low-calorie dressing and extras.
- Grab ‘n Go. For work, plan to buy or make a salad the day before. That way, you’ll have a nutritious lunch ready to go when you are!
- Use All Forms of Veggies. Microwave frozen veggies as a base for your salad and add your own toppings – fresh, canned, or dried – for a different taste every time. Add a glass of 100% fruit or vegetable juice as a healthy beverage.
- Variety. Choose something new for your salads – explore the produce, canned, frozen, and dried food aisles in your supermarket. Get out of a rut and try some new fruits and vegetables (especially dark green leafy and orange vegetables) for your salads. Variety is key to maintaining good eating habits and a healthy diet!
- Make Your Salad a Meal. Fruit is a nutritious addition to any salad. If you want some protein, add chicken, eggs, cottage cheese, or low-fat meat or cheese. Be sure to add only low-fat, low-calorie dressing and toppings to your salad. Check out our Six Simple Steps to Prepare a Main Dish Salad.
¹ Kimmons, Joel, Cathleen Gillespie, Jennifer Seymour, et. al. “Fruit and Vegetable Intake Among Adolescents and Adults in the United States: Percentage Meeting Individualized Recommendations.” Medscape J Med.
200: 11(1): 26, accessed August 23, 2013. View Article
² Slusser, Wendelin M., William G. Cumberland, Ben L. Browdy, et al. “A school salad bar increases frequency of fruit and vegetable consumption among children living in low-income households.” Public Health Nutrition
(2007): 10, 1490-1496. View Article