· Make your meals simple. A bowl of soup and a salad. A salad topped with beans or marinated bean salad. Steamed greens or vegetables and a salad. A baked sweet potato and a salad. Rice (with optional steamed vegetables tossed in gently after cooking) and a salad. Fruit salad (served over tender red leaf lettuce, if desired). Whole fruits or vegetables, uncut, or cut in large slices and simply “arranged” on a plate or platter, drizzled with a little optional dressing.

· Make your salads simple. Torn or shredded lettuce with 1 to 3 other diced, sliced, or quartered ingredients. (Be sure to vary your ingredients each day.) A romaine lettuce salad with quartered tomatoes and cucumbers, topped with a squeeze of lemon or lime and freshly ground black pepper. A red leaf lettuce salad with peeled and diced, sliced, or segmented oranges or fresh strawberry slices or quarters topped with a freshly blended pineapple-mango dressing or fresh/frozen raspberry-orange/Clementine/Mineola juice dressing. TIP: Some of Rachael Ray’s “30 Minute Meals” salad recipes at offer some great ideas on how easy, yet tasty, simple salad combinations and dressings can be.

· Make salad your main dish. After eating a large salad, you may not feel like eating much else of the more starchy, less-nutrient foods.

· Make salads ahead of time. Make a salad base ahead of time and store in gallon-sized Zip-loc bags to use for the next few days. If well sealed, it can last almost a week in the refrigerator. (Ex: torn romaine lettuce, thinly shredded Napa cabbage, and thinly shredded purple cabbage. When ready to serve, add dark leafy greens such as spinach leaves or baby spring greens.) Then top or toss with a few veggies, some diced or quartered tomatoes, and a dressing.

· Freeze dressings. While this won’t work for all dressings, some salad dressings can be made and frozen ahead of time. In preparation for a recent surgery, I successfully made a lemon salad dressing with fresh lemon juice, lemon zest, water (for oil), garlic, salt, and pepper that I froze in ice cube trays. Once frozen, I stored in air-tight Zip-loc bags in the freezer. Defrost cubes as needed the morning of, whisk just before serving, and it’s ready to go. For brown-baggers, the salad dressing can be defrosting before lunch.

· Prepare crudités in advance that can be used on or in salads or as snacks. Rubbermaid makes divided, clear, rectangular containers you can fill with lots of different crudités of varying colors of the rainbow. When ready to serve a salad, pull out your pre-made salad base and add whatever crudités desired for that particular meal, using first the crudités that might spoil the fastest. Top with some freshly chopped or quartered tomatoes. (I used to make one huge “rainbow” salad with everything combined, but found it didn’t have as long of a refrigerated shelf-life, so now I separate everything.) You can serve like a salad bar, if desired, which is especially good for those finicky eaters that won’t eat salad if it contains “aspara-crap” (or whatever the evil veggie of the day is). Ex: sliced red bell pepper, diagonally sliced celery, English cucumber slices or wedges, coarsely shredded or sliced carrots, zucchini, crook-neck squash, beets, or jicama (the coarser the shred, the longer the shelf-life), broccoli and/or cauliflower florets, diagonally sliced asparagus, etc.

· Prepare once, eat many times. Make big batches of salad or salad fixings ahead of time. (This avoids having to haul out salad ingredients for each meal or day.) Make and freeze green smoothie kits. Freeze simple soup bases that can be defrosted and then simmered with whatever veggies you might have on hand. Make a large recipe batch and then freeze leftovers to be baked or reheated later.

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