Get Your Crunch On!

30 Day Salad Swap Crunch in Salads

We eat with all our senses: taste, sight, smell, touch, and hearing. Some of these may seem obvious, like the way food tastes on your tongue, the aromas that may bring back childhood memories, and the beauty of the food on your plate. The way food feels in your mouth or hands and the sound of food are not as commonly thought of when sitting down to eat a meal, but they too play a role in your desire to eat and enjoyment of food. Think about the slurping sound you make when eating hot soup or the smacking sound when eating sticky peanut butter. And we often crave foods specifically for their texture, like creamy mac and cheese on a cold, rainy day or a crunchy pretzel during the mid-afternoon slump.

Crunchy foods provide a lot of sound and texture, which makes them a stand-out ingredient in some meals, especially salads. But the crunchy salad topping choices at a salad bar aren’t always the best for your waistline: croutons, crispy onions, Chinese noodles, tortilla strips. Next time you’re deciding what to add to your salad, try some of these crunchy salad add-ins instead!

  1. Nuts and seeds – slivered almonds, pumpkin seeds, pecans, walnuts, and peanuts all work well on various types of salads. Just be careful to limit the caramelized nuts, which are made with sweeteners like honey and sugar.
  2. Crunchy vegetables – cucumbers, carrots, radishes (including daikon), fennel, jicama, snap peas, peppers, water chestnuts. Some of these may be staples in your salad, but if they’re not, add them in for some lower-calorie crunch.
  3. Crunchy fruit – sliced apples, Asian pears, fresh grapes, and pomegranate seeds add crunch and sweetness to your salad.
  4. Roasted chickpeas – give you the crunch with some protein and fiber too.

What’s your favorite crunchy salad topping?

By Jessica Fishman Levinson, MS, RDN, CDN for Fresh Express

Well-Dressed New Year’s Resolutions

Well Dressed New Years Image

The holidays may be over, but the New Year is reason enough to celebrate. If you made some New Year’s resolutions relating to a healthier lifestyle, you probably plan on eating more fruits and vegetables in the coming months.

We all know what an important role food plays in our lives, and it’s no surprise that we eat with our eyes as well as our mouths. How your food is presented and what it looks like on the plate is an important part of the dining experience. And when it comes to salad, the dressing can make all the difference in whether the salad is a hit or a flop. But if you’re not careful, your salad can turn into a diet disaster and often the culprit is lots of oil, added sweeteners, or too much salt in the dressing. Your best bet is to make your own at home.

Here are some of our favorite salad dressing flavor combinations to try on your well-dressed resolution salads.

Balsamic Vinegar

Cider Vinegar

Lemon Juice

+ Maple Syrup + Greens: mixed greens, arugula, romaine, butter lettuce

Fruit: Apples, Pears, Pomegranate seeds, dried cranberries

Vegetables: winter squash, red onions, Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes

Meat: chicken, turkey, steak, tofu, pork

Cheese: goat, feta, blue

Nuts: walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts

Herbs/Spices: thyme, sage, rosemary

Salads to try:

Soy Sauce

(low sodium)

Orange Juice

Lime Juice

Rice Vinegar

+ Honey

Maple Syrup

+ Greens: cabbage, romaine, baby spinach

Fruit: grapefruit, oranges

Vegetables: fennel, carrots, pea pods, broccoli, bell peppers, scallions

Meat: shellfish, chicken, pork, beef, tofu, salmon

Nuts: peanuts, sesame seeds, toasted almonds

Herbs/Spices: cilantro, garlic, ginger

Salads to try:

Lime Juice

Balsamic Vinegar

+ Dijon Mustard + Greens: arugula, mixed greens, romaine

Fruit: avocado

Vegetables: bell peppers, jicama, tomatoes, red onion, corn

Meat: shellfish, chicken, beef, black beans

Cheese: Monterey jack, cheddar

Nuts: pepitas

Herbs/Spices: cilantro, cumin, chili powder

Salads to try:

Balsamic Vinegar

Red Wine Vinegar

Lemon Juice

+ Honey


+ Greens: arugula, baby spinach, kale, mixed greens

Fruit: avocado

Vegetables: tomatoes, shallots, roasted red peppers, sundried tomatoes, olives

Meat: shellfish, chicken, salami, prosciutto

Cheese: Parmesan, asiago, pecorino, mozzarella, ricotta

Nuts: pine nuts

Herbs/Spices: thyme, basil, oregano, garlic, lemon zest, capers

Salads to try:

By Jessica Fishman Levinson, MS, RDN, CDN for Fresh Express

The Fresh Express Salad Swap helps you recreate the flavors of your favorite higher-calorie foods in lower-calorie salads. Discover the free app with delicious recipes and money saving coupons at

Eating By the Season: Winter

jessica winter salad final

The winter months are cold and dreary for most, but what you eat can brighten your mood and your taste buds. Here are five fruits and vegetables you’ll find in the produce aisle this winter that make some great salad fixings!


  • Slice thin and toss with baby greens, toasted nuts, and blue cheese for a sweet and tangy salad
  • Poach pears in red wine for an elegant dessert on the lighter side
  • Roast pears with parsnips and cauliflower and puree into soup


  • Make a winter pesto using these hearty and nutritious greens
  • Sauté with olive oil and garlic for a restaurant-quality side to steak or fish
  • Blend kale, apples, and celery for an energizing green smoothie


  • The ruby-red seeds provide a juicy, sweet and tart flavor to sauces, salads, dressings, and cocktails.
  • Try them in this Classic Fall Salad 


  • Puree and use in place of mashed potatoes
  • Add roasted parsnips to a salad with squash or sweet potatoes and a lemon-thyme vinaigrette
  • Make a traditional chicken soup with carrots, parsnips, dill, and parsley


  • Combine with baby spinach, fennel, and avocado
  • Roast chicken with orange and lemon slices
  • Make your own homemade cranberry orange compote, perfect on everything from turkey and salmon to banana bread

By Jessica Fishman Levinson, MS, RDN, CDN for Fresh Express

The Fresh Express Day Salad Swap helps you recreate the flavors of your favorite higher-calorie foods in lower-calorie salads. Discover the free app with delicious recipes and money saving coupons at