Saturday, June 4, 2011

salad season + goodbye food guide pyramid

Things are starting to heat up around here, meaning many of us say goodbye to hot soups and hello to salads. I’m more than slightly excited about the variety of vegetables and fruit coming into season pretty soon.


spiralized salads: cukes, carrots, red onion, feta cheese + balsamic vinaigrette. you can get a spiralizer here.


waldorf salad: try the vegan-friendly homemade mayo.


classic potato salad: picnic staple…and not like the weird potato salad at the grocery store that looks unnaturally yellow. ugh.

potato salad

black bean salad: tomatoes, corn, black beans, cucumbers, red onion, and cilantro + olive oil and red wine vinegar.


apple and cherry salad: this one is a hit at dinner parties; the dressing is pretty fantastic.

joanie's salad

cherry tomato couscous salad: adding whole grains to vegetables is an easy way to make a side dish into a main course.

couscous salad

5 week fennel salad: this is called such because I made it 5 weeks in a row after discovering the recipe. It’s pretty addicting.



And I’m sure that most of you have seen My Plate, which replaces the former (and incredibly confusing) My Pyramid.

my plate my pyramid

While it’s not perfect, I think it’s a big improvement over My Pyramid. At least vegetables and fruit are given more of a presence. However, I like this model by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) even better.

pcrm plate

Half of the plate is composed of vegetables, which I think would be very beneficial for most of the population. You’ll also notice that there is not a protein group, which is due to the group’s conclusion that animal products are not needed for a healthful diet, and observation that protein can be obtained from grains and vegetables. I agree with this; I don’t have a problem with including meat in moderation, but as factory farming makes ethical meat less available, alternative sources of protein are definitely more attractive and affordable (read my thoughts on protein here and here).


This report by the PCRM is pretty interesting. Although the government is encouraging us to eat more servings of fruit and vegetables, more than 60 percent of agricultural subsidies in recent history have directly and indirectly supported meat and dairy production. Less than 1 percent have gone to fruits and vegetables.

So in other words, eat more vegetables and fruit but don’t expect the government to make them more accessible or affordable. Go figure.

Thoughts on the new plate? And any good salad recipes? I’m always expanding my recipe file in the name of creative vegetable dishes…

Hope it is warm + sunny wherever you are…



  1. I love all your salads! Spiralizers are so much fun!

    Unfortunately, it's cold and rainy here, so I'm still in a "roasted veggies mood." But I usually put them on top of salads... :)

    I think My Plate is an improvement, but I think it would be important to stress that it is best to choose whole, unprocessed foods in each category. I also agree that animal protein is not necessary and that if you choose to eat it, you should choose it also carefully.

    Have a good weekend!

  2. I love me some salads ;)

    I like the concept of myplate, however it's still far from perfect. I hope it will help Americans eat more vegetables and fruits.

  3. Woo myplate! A huge step up from the pyramid we grew up with. But I'm still concerned about the huge portion dedicated to grains. More and more people are discovering they have some sort of grain/gluten intolerance. Plus, where are the seeds/sprouts? Aren't they as healthy as legumes?

  4. Great points Emily and great post. I love your commentary on "where the money goes" - very interesting. I too think the plate isn't perfect, but with nutrition being such an individual thing, I don't know if a "perfect" plate could exist. My biggest concern is that people will not seek out help to interpret the plate and will instead use it as a complete nutrition education piece and then miss the point entirely. Hopefully with enough of us RDs talking about it, we'll make a positive impact and people will know where to go and ask questions. :)

  5. oh my gosh its soo hot here in st. louis!! i do love your recipe suggestions-they all look so refreshing! i will have to keep these in mind when im at the farmers market next weekend :)

  6. i have been obssessed with fennel lately! too bad it's so hard to find!!! it's such a hot commodity. hehe.

    and thanks for the link to your spiralizer. i bought one just a few weeks ago and it's ALREADY rusting. i'm not happy about it! :T

  7. This line up could keep me happy all summer long :) I'm not sure I'll wait for entertaining to share that apple and cherry salad...I might want more of it for me sounds delicious! Wishing you a fantastic summer weekend!

  8. I just found your blog - love it! your pictures are great....i'll be back!

  9. i like the new plate but your right this one is cool as well, I need a spiraler fun oh on the toor dal any indian store will have it :-) come on over for dinner anytime Emily, also I liked your blog to the chow and chatter facebook wall recently and someone wanted to follow you on facebook, twitter please respond :-)


  10. my favorite salad lately is made with chopped romaine, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, 1/2 mashed avocado, lemon juince and tofu! :)

  11. Oh ugh. This is so depressing Emily. I hate how off-balanced government subsidies are. It's truly ridiculous. I have to say, however, I like the new food guide "plate" a lot. It's so simple! And, form my experience as an RD I think the later plate (by PCRM) wouldn't fly with most Americans. I think it would be nice if we could eventually get to that point, but for now I think we need to start slow and just get people eating more F/V and whole grains, period, THEN maybe start limiting the meat/animal proteins.

  12. Honestly I had completely forgotten about my Spiralizer until I read this post. Now that so many fruits and veggies are in season, I foresee many Spiralized recipes in my future!

  13. To be honest I think the only people caring about the food guides are nutritionist and health bloggers. I'm seeing it discussed on every blog, but nobody I've met at work or my other non-blogger friends even mentions it. That makes me wonder how many regular families actually follow these governmental guides?

  14. I like the new guidelines, but like many others I'm pretty wary of the "protein" section. I feel like it encourages people to keep eating factory farmed meat. And I like the PCRM one, but it is probably impractical for most people to follow.
    Well, anything getting Americans to eat more fruits and veggies is a step up!

  15. Yay for salad season! I like that the new plate has fruit on in .. I LOVE fruit :)

  16. I like the second model more too- especially because there's no 'meat' category! Protein isn't just meat, and I'm glad that's being recognized :)

  17. I've been on the hunt for great new salads and this really got my excited (and wanting a spiralizer again)!

  18. Your salads are just beautiful, the cous cous is making me drool. I agree with your conclusions of the new plate, I was planning on writing about it too. It's not perfect, but definitely better than the last one!

  19. Thanks for posting the subsidy pie chart - it was enlightening. (Full disclosure - I come from a family of grain farmers and some beef producers - small scale) I have mixed feelings on subsidies in general, but certainly the fruit and vegetable growers are under funded. Thanks for the thought provoking info.


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