The Core Diet Blog

As your hydration needs increase during these hot summer days, you'll find yourself craving juicy fruits more than you did before. This is no surprise! When I review food diaries for my clients during the colder months, I see log after log listing apples and bananas as the fruit of choice, with very little variety. But a fruit is a fruit, right? It's not until the summer months that citrus and antioxidant-filled fruits make an appearance, bringing a little more excitement to your diet. One of my favorite ways to savor the season's fruitful flavors and save yourself from the apple/banana rut, is this refreshing summer salad recipe.

This has been a hit after hit at many barbeques, even among those "non-fruit eating" individuals. The combination of citrus juices with the aromatic flavors of mint leaves, makes this salad perfect for breakfast, a snack or dessert. You can eat it alone or pair it with a low-fat cottage cheese, Greek yogurt or any other protein choice to keep the glycemic impact down.

INGREDIENTS:
  • Mandarin Oranges (12)
  • Grapefruit (1)
  • Pomegranate (1)
  • Mint Leaves (10-20 Leaves)
DIRECTIONS:
  • Peel mandarin oranges and grapefruit, place in medium size bowl.
  • Peel and seed the pomegranate, mix seeds in with oranges and grapefruit.
  • Chop mint leaves to taste and stir into fruit.
  • Chill in refrigerator or serve immediately.

One of the best things about this salad is its cheating twin! While I always promote a whole foods approach first, there are some times when there isjust not enough time! I learned this the hard way when I decided at the last minute to have Easter brunch at my NYC apartment for three couples. When I cook for guests, it's all from scratch.

This summer salad was an assignment I gave to my kitchen "assistant," and it was then that I realized how labor intensive fruit can be! Ergo, the cheating twin was born. Typically, I steer clear of canned or bottled fruits, as they usually come packaged in light syrup. When I found mandarin oranges packaged in natural juice, I thought I would give it a try (Whole Foods 365 makes a few varieties). The grapefruit was a bit harder to find, but most markets offer a natural packaged version of this fruit also. The key here is to use products in natural juices and to avoid anything in light syrup. Be sure to also avoid any artificial flavors or colors.

OPTIONS & TIPS:

Here are some easy options to make your refreshing summer salad work with what you have in your kitchen:

·Mandarin Oranges:

oUse fresh as indicated.

oReplace with fresh tangerines, or any variety of oranges.

oUse canned/bottled in natural or 100% juice (not light syrup).

·Grapefruit:

oUse fresh as indicated.

oUse canned/bottled in natural or 100% juice (not light syrup).

oUse a canned/bottled citrus blend that includes grapefruit (not light syrup).

·Pomegranate:

oUse a fresh pomegranate. There are many ways to peel and seed it, but I suggest doing so in a large bowl of water to cut down on the mess. Cut the pomegranate in half and place it under water in a large bowl. De-seed from there.

oA more expensive, but quick and easy way is to buy the pomegranate seeds already de-peeled.

oWhen pomegranate is not in season, I substitute with blueberries.

·Mint Leaves:

oThere is no guideline on how much to use, but I find the more the better! The only rule for mint is to make sure it is finely chopped, so its aroma blends well with the citrus.

oMint leaves can be chopped with a sharp knife, or if you use fresh herbs on a regular basis, you can invest in a pair of herb scissors. I couldn't live without my MastradÒHerb Scissor!

SERVING:

Whether you make this salad from scratch or use some of the options listed above, there are numerous ways to enjoy this refreshing salad. My favorites are:

  • Breakfast:This is perfect side dish to any protein you are having at breakfast whether eggs or Greek yogurt, and matches well with a slice of Ezekial bread or steel cut oatmeal if you are in a post-workout window.
  • Snack:This salad is perfectly designed to go with cottage cheese, but can also be matched with Greek yogurt or a light string cheese.

Dessert:Serve this after any dinner party and your guests will be begging you for the recipe!

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