A salad is a very versatile dish to make — you can mix and match different fresh fruits and vegetables, add herbs and spices for flavor, and even top it with cheese or any lean protein (like chicken, turkey, or beef) for added flavor.
Drizzle it with balsamic vinegar or olive oil, and you’ve got a ready-to-eat meal that will load you up with nutrients and fill you up.
This easy Cucumber Avocado Caprese salad recipe adapted from PopSugar Fitness uses some of the most basic salad ingredients that you can find in most local farmers markets (or if you’ve got a garden, you might even have some of these fresh produce growing in your backyard). Try this recipe today — it’s great served as a side dish, but can be eaten on its own, too.
Texture, color, flavor, and nutrients — this recipe boasts of all these qualities (and so much more) that it’ll definitely become one of your favorite pick-me-up meals. With only 250 calories per serving, this salad is perfect for people who want a filling yet delicious meal that will not mess up their weight management and fitness goals.
Made mostly of water (95 percent), the humble cucumber is a great food to munch on during hot summer days, as it will keep you rehydrated. It contains a plethora of nutrients: vitamins C, K, B vitamins, manganese, copper, and potassium, to name a few.
Cucumber also has unique polyphenol compounds that reduce your risk of disease, and may help fight inflammation, protect your brain, and support your digestive and heart health. It can even keep your breath fresh: placing a cucumber slice on the roof of your mouth can kill odor-causing bacteria. Read more about the health benefits of cucumbers.
Avocado is one of my top superfoods, and for good reason. This low-fructose fruit is an excellent source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat that your body easily burns for energy. An avocado can also provide as much as 20 essential nutrients, including high levels of potassium, vitamin E, fiber, B vitamins, and folic acid.
According to a 2005 study, adding avocado to salad helped the study participants to absorb three to five times more carotenoids which are antioxidant molecules that help protect your body against free radical damage. Aside from helping lower bad cholesterol levels, avocados may promote optimal brain function, helping you to avoid degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease. Studies have also shown its potential to fight cancer.
One tip: make sure you eat the fleshy green part closest to the skin, as that is where the highest amount of carotenoids can be found. To do this, peel the avocado with your hands, as you would a banana.
Another garden favorite, tomato is known mainly for its lycopene content, an antioxidant that’s been found to have potent anti-cancer activity. But did you know that this berry can provide you with excellent amounts of fiber, vitamins A, C, and K, manganese, and potassium? It also has good amounts of vitamin E, B6, folate, magnesium, thiamin, phosphorus, and copper.
One reminder: make sure to buy your ingredients fresh, and from organic producers. Organic fruits and vegetables tend to have lower levels of pesticide residues, such as cadmium, a carcinogenic toxic metal. Organic produce also have higher antioxidant levels, which are a boon to your health. You can buy organic produce from local farmers markets, or better yet, start your own garden at home.