Summertime heat calls for light, cooling dining options, and one of the most enjoyable meals can be a summer salad. More than just a wedge of lettuce, a healthy salad can include many different components, from protein to fresh fruits. With so many seasonal summer ingredient choices, you can make a different salad every day and never get bored.

These four healthy summer salads can get you started; then mix and match your own ingredients to make your own creations.

Fresh Seasonal Fruit

How about a refreshing quinoa fruit salad? Packed with antioxidants and loaded with nutrients, this easy-to-make, healthy salad combines:

  • blueberries (fiber, vitamin C, potassium, folate)
  • strawberries (vitamin C, fiber, flavonoids, folate)
  • mangoes (vitamins A, B6, C, fiber and more)
  • quinoa (protein, phosphorus, manganese, magnesium, iron, zinc, fiber)

Mix in a light honey lime dressing, and you’ve got a perfect side dish with your summertime cookout.

BBQ Chicken

Nothing says summer more than barbecue, and this BBQ Chicken Salad with Avocado Dressing puts that summertime favorite right into your salad. This scrumptious salad combines mixed greens, tomatoes, avocados, black beans and corn, then tops it off with barbecued chicken.

Just look at some of the health benefits you get from this salad:

  • Chicken – great source of protein
  • Black beans – heart healthy legume that helps to lower cholesterol; contains fiber, vitamin B6, potassium and folate
  • Avocado – helps to reduce inflammation and considered a heart healthy fruit, this healthy fat “superfood” also has vitamins K, B5, B6, E, C, fiber, folate, antioxidants and more potassium than bananas

Salmon

Another salad that’s an ideal lunch or dinner choice is the salmon salad with basil vinaigrette. This salad’s got a great variety of textures and flavors to satisfy all your cravings.

  • Salmon – an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids as well as vitamins D and B, antioxidants and protein. For this recipe, salmon is cooked in coconut oil, which provides healthy medium-chain fatty acids and has many health benefits.
  • Kale – a “supergreen” that’s high in fiber and vitamins C and K. It’s loaded with other nutrients too, like manganese, calcium, and potassium. Kale is also known to aid digestion.
  • Dried cranberries, sunflower seeds and almonds – add interesting textures to your salad while providing benefits such as fiber, protein, vitamin E and magnesium. Almonds and sunflower seeds also provide essential fatty acids.

Strawberry Spinach

This strawberry spinach salad practically epitomizes summer and makes a great side dish. Besides the great flavor, you’ll also benefit from:

  • Spinach, which is loaded with good things including calcium, zinc, vitamins A, C, E, and K, iron, protein, fiber and much more.
  • Strawberries are a great source of vitamin C, fiber, iodine, manganese, potassium and more.
  • Almonds, sesame seeds and poppy seeds add even more nutrients while providing additional crunch.

These four recipes just scratch the surface of the wonderful summer salads you can make all season long. Healthy eating just got a lot tastier!

Sources:

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/14276/strawberry-spinach-salad-i/

http://www.twopeasandtheirpod.com/quinoa-fruit-salad-with-honey-lime-dressing

http://sharedappetite.com/recipes/bbq-chicken-salad-with-avocado-dressing

http://wickedspatula.com/summer-salmon-salad-with-basil-vinaigrette