Pictured above: Spreading the message on smart salsas and healthy nutrition to elementary school students as an intern for Healthy Table – Benedictine University’s Nutrition Counseling and Education Service
August may be the Monday of summer, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy some cool, refreshing salsas to beat the heat! Salsas are a nutritious and delicious way to add fruits and vegetables to any meal. Get creative this summer by experimenting with a wide variety of fresh produce in your salsa!
Here are ideas that put a tasty twist on a traditional tomato salsa:
- Pineapple Black Bean Salsa: Low-sodium black beans (rinsed and drained), fresh or canned pineapple, finely chopped red onion, chopped fresh cilantro, fresh lime juice (Optional: top with avocado for added flavor and healthy fats). Pairs well with grilled salmon, fish tacos.
- Watermelon Mango Salsa: Fresh lime juice, seeded and finely chopped watermelon, cucumber, mango, jalapeno pepper, finely chopped red onion, fresh chopped basil leaves. Pairs well with grilled chicken, baked tortilla chips. Check out this instructional video on how to prepare! (Brought to you by Healthy Table’s Dietetic Interns)
- Garden Veggie Salsa: Fresh chopped tomatoes, cucumber, sweet yellow or red pepper, zucchini, red onion, cilantro, olive oil, white vinegar. Pairs well with pita bread, fish or chicken.
Below are some tips that will help you be smart about which healthy ingredients to choose:
- If using canned fruit (pineapple, peaches, mango), choose fruits packed in 100% fruit juice to reduce added sugars.
- If using canned vegetables, choose a low-sodium variety or rinse canned vegetables in a strainer to reduce added salt.
- Pair with baked tortilla chips instead of fried to reduce unhealthy fats and oils.
- Add avocado or olive oil for healthy fats!
- Avoid pre-packaged seasonings (i.e. taco seasoning, taco sauce, etc.). These can be very high in sodium!
- Use fresh or dried herbs, spices or citrus juice to add flavor instead of salt.
- Try to purchase fresh fruits or vegetables that are in season. A useful chart can be found here.
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