Salads, although not essential for a healthy meal, do still make sense in winter! It\u2019s an opportunity to try different ingredients than what you use in a summer salad.\n\nWinter Salads: Rethinking Ingredients\n\nGreens: Today\u2019s grocery stores stock all types of lettuce year-round, so you don\u2019t have to switch up your greens for winter. For more seasonal fun, however, try kale or the winter versions of spinach, which stand up well to hearty flavors. These greens are high in beta-carotene, lutein, and vitamin C, and spinach is a good source of the B vitamin folate that helps protect our DNA.\n\n\n\n\n\nMore Veggies: You can include winter vegetables beyond the usual leafy greens. And there are plenty of options from which to choose:\n\n\u25cf Roasted vegetables are terrific in a salad. Cook double amounts of vegetables like winter squash, onions, Brussels sprouts and mushrooms, and use the extra in a salad another day. From beta-carotene to allyl sulfur compounds and other phytochemical, each is nutritionally valuable.\n\n\u25cf Root and bulb vegetables, such as turnips, celeriac, fennel, and carrots, run from familiar to the unexpected. Turnips, a cruciferous vegetable, contain potentially cancer-protective phytochemicals. Add to salads steamed, roasted, or grated or sliced raw. \u00a0Fennel adds a faint licorice-like flavor with its crunch, whether steamed, saut\u00e9ed or sliced raw. Try roasting carrots to add a lovely depth of flavor.\n\n\n\n\u25cf Boost a winter salad with year-round staple veggies. Make thinly sliced celery and radishes more than just a garnish. Radishes are also a cruciferous vegetable, and their red color reflects their content of anthocyanin flavonoids. Low-calorie crunchy celery provides a flavonoid phytochemical called apigenin known for anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties.\n\nLegumes: Lentils combine well with both leafy greens and roasted vegetables for a higher protein salad. And black beans, thawed frozen corn, and red pepper create a colorful southwest-inspired salad. Legumes add fiber that protects against colorectal cancer and nurture a healthy gut microbiota and are a good source of folate.\n\nNuts and seeds: Get your crunch from foods that provide protein, healthy types of fat and vitamin E-related tocopherol compounds. Nuts also contain polyphenol compounds which show antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and cancer-inhibiting effects.\n\nFruits: Oranges (or grapefruit) segments combine with raw spinach for a classic winter salad. Pears, especially winter varieties like Green or Red Anjou, are delicious in a salad raw or briefly saut\u00e9ed or broiled. Grapes, apples, and kiwifruit add color and a sweet note to winter salads.\n\nWhole Grains: Add heartiness and boost fiber and nutrients by including some cooked whole grains. Many people love tabbouleh, the bulgur-tomato summer salad. Bring the concept to winter: Cook a double batch of quinoa, brown rice, farro, kasha, sorghum or millet, use some for a salad and save the rest for later as a side dish or casserole ingredient.\n\nNo, salads aren\u2019t essential to a nutritious meal. You can also boost portions of vegetables and fruits in other dishes like soups, stews or casseroles. Have fun experimenting with adding vegetables to your winter favorites!\n\n# # #\n\nAICR HealthTalk is by Karen Collins, MS, RDN.\n\nKaren Collins, MS, RDN, CDN, is AICR\u2019s Nutrition Advisor. Karen is a speaker, writer and consultant who specializes in helping people make sense of nutrition news. You can follow her blog, Smart Bytes\u00ae, through her website and follow her on Twitter @KarenCollinsRD and Facebook @KarenCollinsNutrition.