Starting your New Year's Resolution with A Fruit, A Nut and A Cheese, Oh My!
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Starting your New Year's Resolution with A Fruit, A Nut and A Cheese, Oh My!

Here we go again, folks. The resolution solution. Do you have one this year?

When people tell me that they are yet again joining a gym-only to stop going in mid February (if not sooner), my suggestion is always to be to save that money from the gym membership and put it towards something new and exciting that will keep you exercising. How about tennis lessons? What about learning how to ski? Registration to road runs/races? Splitting the fee for a personal trainer? Boot Camp? The list goes on and on. Set yourself up for success-not failure.

Another one of those resolutions is “I’m going to eat more fruits and vegetables everyday.” When I ask how, the response is “salad”. When deconstructing the salad after the frustration people felt by not seeing progress, we’d peel back the layers: minimal greens, few antioxidant packed veggies, zero protein, tons of cheese, lots of croutons, fried and crunchy bacon bits and enough salad dressing (usually a creamy one like Ranch) to cover the top of the salad so much so that you couldn’t see the food underneath!!! Not to mention, this is the same salad they are eating day in and day out! BORING!

I fully support your commitment to incorporate more salads into your menus. The can be full of fiber, rich in antioxidants, loaded with vitamins and minerals not to mention they can taste GREAT and be completely satisfying. It’s all in the way we construct it!

Here we go:

1. Start with a large base of dark salad greens. The deeper the color green, the better. Think spinach, kale, cabbages, even mixed greens, etc.

2. Load up on your favorite veggies–tomatoes, red bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, sprouts…you get the drill. Remember, they don’t even have to be raw! Try some of last nights cooked carrots or the grilled onions from your left over fajitas.

3. Add lean protein. Think lean meats, low fat deli meats, canned (and rinsed) beans-black, garbanzo, kidney-anything! Tuna, canned salmon, leftover grilled chicken from the night before or crumble your turkey taco meat on top!

4. When you think dressing, think oil and vinegar based dressings. Remember that oil is 100% fat calories, so be sure to measure out what you want to use. Stay away from most creamy based dressings. If you are like me, your not a fan of the low fat or fat free dressings. Remember it only take a little bit of dressing to go a long way. Also consider lemon and lime juice, salsas and flavored vinegars. The normal ratio for a vinaigrette is 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar. Change it up and do less oil, more vinegar!

5. Now for the fun stuff. I love to add fruits, nuts and cheeses to make my salads complete meals. As with everything, its the moderation that counts. I unearthed this “Off the Chart” Salad Combination photo copy last week. I am sorry to say that I have no idea where it came from, but I’ve had it for years and lists beautiful combinations.

Toasting the nuts brings out an aroma you won’t believe. Keep your measuring spoons handy so that you don’t over do on the nuts. While healthy and good for you, it’s easy to go overboard. Some of the cheeses listed below are high in fat and calories so remember that just a little bit of these highly flavorful cheese go a long way in providing great taste. The fruit you add doesn’t matter–just add some! Remember you can use canned mandarin oranges or Cuties or any kind of canned fruit (in natural juices) if you can’t find the fresh in your market or if its not in season. Adding fruit gives the salad an entirely new dimension and helps get another serving of fruit into the day.

The idea is to be satisfied or satiated after eating your meal. The salad can encompass it all-I encourage you to break out of your salad rut and look around for new flavors to help increase your consumption of healthy salads!

If you have a combo that is your favorite, please let me know in the comment section–I’m always looking for new ones.



Nuts (Toasted)




Pine Nuts

Fresh dill or lemon zest

Dried Apricots

Goat Cheese


Fresh mint or basil

Dried Cherries



Shaved radicchio or crisp pancetta




Orange zest, walnut oil or prosciutto


English Stilton





Macadamia Nuts

Fresh Mint


Shaved Parmesan curls


Crumbled bacon or shaved endive


Goat cheese or blue cheese

Pecans or toasted pumpkin seeds

Cayenne pepper or freshly grated nutmeg


Pepper flavored Boursin cheese


Fresh basil or hazelnut oil

Sun Dried Tomatoes

Fresh Mozzarella

Pine Nuts

Fresh Basil

page 85, chapter title: Soups and salads

Sadly, book unknown!

  • foodfitnessfreshair
    Posted at 17:18h, 02 January

    Great posts. Salads truly can become like fast food when all those unhealthy toppings like bacon are added. I try to pack mine with colorful veggies, and usually skip the cheese and add avocado instead. Occasionally I'll do some feta and candied nuts, which add calories, but are def. a tasty treat.

  • robinplotkin
    Posted at 11:45h, 03 January

    Thanks for your comments and thanks for reading!

  • Farida
    Posted at 00:39h, 15 March

    Thanks for these great salads combination , definitely I will try some !