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(photo: Kurman Communications, Inc.)

All salads are healthy, right? Wrong. Your salad is only as healthy as your toppings and iceberg lettuce is not as healthy as you think. Healthy eating is an important step to reducing your cancer risk. What you feed your body directly impacts its ability to stay healthy.

Salads are often avoided because they are boring. These quick and easy tips will prove you wrong and teach you to build a nutritious salad that is packed with flavor.

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Start with a base. Stick with dark greens, baby spinach and spring greens. These are tasty options that have more nutrients and flavor than iceberg and romaine lettuce.

Protein is an important part of your daily diet. Add lean proteins, such as grilled chicken, boiled eggs or salmon. For vegetarians, try chopped tofu or red kidney beans in your salad for a protein boost.

Crunch. Pile on the veggies! Raw works best for salads. Carrots, red onion and bell pepper will give you that crunch factor you want in every meal. The more colorful the salad, the wider variety of nutrients you will consume.

Toppings. Everyone’s favorite part of salad is the toppings. Many opt for only bacon and blue cheese, and these aren’t so healthy. Choose toppings with a purpose next time you are in the kitchen. Nuts are a good source of nutrients, while a low fat cheese will satisfy your salty craving.

Add a touch of flavor. A salad is not complete without dressing. Be selective with dressing. Choose oil and vinegar dressings over creamy dressings to keep it light and reduce calories. Olive oil and balsamic vinegar is a simple dressing you can make yourself. Eating out? Ask for the dressing on the side, this will control the amount of dressing the salad is tossed in.

Crisp and Crunchy Summer Salad6777379402_8ffcb49f3c_m
Yield: 4
6 cups of spring greens
4 boiled eggs chopped
2 medium radishes thinly sliced
2 cucumbers thinly sliced
¼ cup of sliced toasted almonds
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Dash of each salt and pepper

In a large bowl, whisk olive oil and Dijon mustard. Then toss all ingredients together. Serves 4.

Eating healthy will put you on the track to Stop Cancer Before It Starts! Prevention is an everyday commitment. Continue to exercise, have a no-smoke lifestyle and talk to your medical professional about getting screened to reduce your risk of cancer. Make it a daily habit to be conscious of the food you eat and have fun trying new vegetables in your salad.