nutrition notes

Superfood Salads

Health continues to rank as a top motivator for consumer choices. In the world of increasingly health-conscious consumers, “superfood” lists have become extremely popular, and seafood tops nearly every one. Consider adding some of these other nutrient-dense “superfoods” to your salad to “up” the appeal and nutrition ante:

shutterstock_554839540.jpgKale: This vitamin-packed veggie was mentioned 380 times more often on menus in 2013 than four years prior, according to Technomic’s MenuMonitor. Consumers continue to epitomize kale as one of the healthiest options on a menu. Think: Kale and blue cheese salad with grilled salmon.

shutterstock_321102602Blueberries: Antioxidant-rich blueberries are a favorite among consumers and chefs. According to a survey by Hebert Research, 58% of consumers associate blueberries with healthier dishes on restaurant menus and, according to a Technomic survey, chefs like blueberries because they’re healthy, low-labor and easy to use. Think: Arugula and blueberry salad with seared red snapper.

shutterstock_349484078.jpgAvocados: Consumer demand for avocados has exploded. Executives from McDaniel Fruit Co. say weekly U.S. consumption of 30 million pounds is becoming the norm, up significantly from 15 million to 20 million pounds weekly just five years ago. Summer is the perfect time to promote salads featuring the “heart-healthy” food. Think: Mesclun salad with crab meat and avocado.

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Nuts: Nuts are no longer just a healthy snack food – small but mighty, they’ve found their way onto menus as the perfect crunch to add texture (and taste!) to salads. Cashews, peanuts, walnuts and almonds are some favorites. Think: Spinach salad with grilled tilapia and candied walnuts.

 

Beyond the Bowl of Lettuce

shutterstock_560193187.jpgThink beyond a bowl of lettuce with new presentation of salads that satisfy:

  • Power Bowls: These deconstructed salads not only look great, but make people feel great. Fill the plate with piles of food of different colors and textures like cubed gala apple, diced avocado, shredded red lettuce, diced celery, and tuna or salmon salad with a creamy, citrus dressing.
  • Grains Instead of Greens: Try mixing a tried-and-true combination of chopped vegetables, crumbly cheese, and protein with an unexpected grain like quinoa, wheat berry, or wild rice. Shrimp is a good choice to pair with quinoa, olives, feta, fresh dill, diced cucumber, diced tomato, and a tangy vinaigrette.
  • Fill Up on Fruit: Fruit salad isn’t just a side. Make this refreshing staple into a meal by incorporating seafood. Try scallops with tropical fruits including mangos or crab with citrus fruits like blood oranges.

Say Cheese!

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Gorgonzola, blue cheese, a sharp cheddar or other “strong cheeses” instantly up the flavor profile of a salad – what consumers want. The best news? A little goes a long way, which is a win-win for chefs.

 

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