Opt for a salad

July 25, 2000

Opt for a salad

By KEVIN CLAPP / Staff Writer

After a long, hot day at work, the last thing you want to face is a hot stove.

That's when it's time to step away from the range and rely on lighter fare to create a meal that is cool, quick and often more more nutritious.


The answer? Salads.

"If you're going to be outside and it's warm, you'd just as soon not have something that's going to contribute to the heat," says Rosalia Coffen, a registered dietitian at Robinwood Medical Center. "If we're emphasizing those garden vegetables, salads, we'll get significantly more nutrition."

Instead of baking a casserole or frying chicken, she recommends a hearty salad full of garden vegetables that are plentiful this time of year. To spruce it up - and still get your poultry fix - add leftover chicken, sliced into strips or cubed.


"Most people don't have a lot of time to cook anymore," says Jeanne Rhodes, owner of Rhodes Preventive Health Institute. "There are options now with precooked chicken and fish. ... Of course, opening a can of tuna is real quick."

Like chicken, a can of drained tuna can enhance a salad, Rhodes says. For a side dish, she says people should look no further than the produce section of the supermarket. A platter of sliced veggies is filling, healthy and easily prepared.

What's more, when the mercury rises, people naturally want to consume less at the dinner table.

"Digesting food is a big workload for your body," she says.

Expending that energy raises body temperature, which can already be uncomfortable.

"We just intuitively will reach for lighter things," Rhodes says. "Many times you'll get hungry for salad or a piece of fruit because of its high water content."

Of course, picnic staples such as macaroni and potato salads also help complete lighter meals and can be made healthier by using a low-fat mayonnaise.

Because of the variety of foods available at grocery stores, Rhodes says a trip to the market for precooked chicken can eliminate the need to worry about preparing hot food at home.

"To eat healthy you need to have food you enjoy, and it's not that difficult to do anymore. There are a lot of options out there," she says.

Macaroni Salad

  • 16-ounce box elbow macaroni
  • 1 medium tomato, cut into chunks
  • 1 medium cucumber, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 medium green pepper, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 cup small spanish olives, sliced in half
  • 4 tablespoons light mayonnaise

Cook macaroni until tender. Place in mixing bowl with pepper and olives. Chill overnight. Add tomato, cucumber and mayonnaise. Mix well.

Serves 10.

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