Home Salad Bar

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Home Salad Bar

Chatbooks Ideas Make an At-Home Salad Bar (& Take an Awesome Picture!) As the farmers’ market bursts with fresh fruits and veggies in dazzling jewel tones, now’s the perfect time to eat fresh. The yummiest (and, conveniently, most photogenic) way to get your veggies? Put together an at-home salad bar! (No crummy Sad Desk Lunch  salad—or lame-looking picture—for you, thanks.) Just follow these easy tips for setting up a healthy, good-looking spread like a professional food photographer, perfect for your Chatbooks. And unlike the pros, you get to eat your creation afterward! PUT OUT A HEALTHY MIX. You’ll need a salad base or two (think kale, arugula, spinach, or whatever looks good at the grocery store), tons of chopped up fruits and veggies to serve as crunchy toppings, and protein: Grilled chicken, chopped turkey or ham, cooked shrimp, tuna, nuts, quinoa, or beans are all smart ideas. (After all, this salad should be filling in addition to beautiful!) Include dressings, homemade or bottled, that pack plenty of healthy fat and few added sugars. LIGHT YOUR SHOTS RIGHT. Whether you’re stealing a snap of your finished lunch or the spread-out salad bar, you shouldn’t use flash. “The effect can be too harsh,” says Lisa Maxbauer, the author and photographer of the fun veggie book Squash Boom Beet . “Instead, natural sunlight is the goal.” Try to set everything up near windows to get a natural glow. If your photos are still too dark, have a helper hold up the flashlight app on another phone to cast a steady glow. MAKE THOSE VEGGIES POP. Complementary colors (like placing a dark green salad on a purple placemat, or sprinkling dried cranberries on blue-green leaves) instantly elevate a food shot. Maxbauer likes to think about complementary texture, too. “When I’m shooting complex, ruffled arugula leaves, I add something smooth or shiny to the scene—like the edge of a chrome platter or a silver serving spoon,” she says. “Or if I’m shooting the glossy skin of an eggplant or sleek slices of tomato, I layer the look with something textured, like a woven straw placemat.” These tactile, jutting-off-the-screen elements help your shot stand out (so it’s not another boring salad on a plain, boring plate). FRAME YOUR LUNCH. You’ve probably seen someone at a restaurant stand up—or even climb up on her seat!—to shoot her plate from above. (Hopefully, this hasn’t happened in a super fancy restaurant!) Yes, the overhead shot can look cool and magazine-y, but it’s hard to master with just a smartphone’s camera. “The farther away you are, and the more you have to zoom in, the more you reduce the resolution,” meaning the final shot will be a little grainy or fuzzy, Maxbauer says. “My advice is to get as close to the salad as possible, whether holding the camera straight above the plate in a bird’s eye view, or shooting low for a candid, intimate perspective.” Rather than centering your salad in the frame, move a little off-center…or better yet, play around with cropping afterward! DIAL UP THE FRESHNESS! Believe it or not, if you add filters to photos of your loved ones on the regular, you’re already more than qualified to filter your food photos and make ‘em look fab. “For me, filters are most tricky when they are applied to people and skin tones, because a tone that looks altered or skewed is an immediate red flag,” Maxbauer says. Luckily, that’s not an issue with food still lifes. To highlight the veggies’ vivid hues, play around with filters, and try bumping up the brightness and saturation. “That hyper-color makes food look fresh and good enough to reach out and bite,” she adds. And—lucky you!—your next step is to grab a fork and do just that. Bon appetit! Like this post? Check out more here! Summer Movie Night with Foodstirs Host a Sandwich Extravaganza!  Fire-Up the Grill! 

Home Salad Bar

As the farmers’ market bursts with fresh fruits and veggies in dazzling jewel tones, now’s the perfect time to eat fresh. The yummiest (and, conveniently, most photogenic) way to get your veggies? Put together an at-home salad bar! (No crummy Sad Desk Lunch  salad—or lame-looking picture—for you, thanks.) Just follow these easy tips for setting up a healthy, good-looking spread like a professional food photographer, perfect for your Chatbooks. And unlike the pros, you get to eat your creation afterward! PUT OUT A HEALTHY MIX. You’ll need a salad base or two (think kale, arugula, spinach, or whatever looks good at the grocery store), tons of chopped up fruits and veggies to serve as crunchy toppings, and protein: Grilled chicken, chopped turkey or ham, cooked shrimp, tuna, nuts, quinoa, or beans are all smart ideas. (After all, this salad should be filling in addition to beautiful!) Include dressings, homemade or bottled, that pack plenty of healthy fat and few added sugars. LIGHT YOUR SHOTS RIGHT. Whether you’re stealing a snap of your finished lunch or the spread-out salad bar, you shouldn’t use flash. “The effect can be too harsh,” says Lisa Maxbauer, the author and photographer of the fun veggie book Squash Boom Beet . “Instead, natural sunlight is the goal.” Try to set everything up near windows to get a natural glow. If your photos are still too dark, have a helper hold up the flashlight app on another phone to cast a steady glow. MAKE THOSE VEGGIES POP. Complementary colors (like placing a dark green salad on a purple placemat, or sprinkling dried cranberries on blue-green leaves) instantly elevate a food shot. Maxbauer likes to think about complementary texture, too. “When I’m shooting complex, ruffled arugula leaves, I add something smooth or shiny to the scene—like the edge of a chrome platter or a silver serving spoon,” she says. “Or if I’m shooting the glossy skin of an eggplant or sleek slices of tomato, I layer the look with something textured, like a woven straw placemat.” These tactile, jutting-off-the-screen elements help your shot stand out (so it’s not another boring salad on a plain, boring plate). FRAME YOUR LUNCH. You’ve probably seen someone at a restaurant stand up—or even climb up on her seat!—to shoot her plate from above. (Hopefully, this hasn’t happened in a super fancy restaurant!) Yes, the overhead shot can look cool and magazine-y, but it’s hard to master with just a smartphone’s camera. “The farther away you are, and the more you have to zoom in, the more you reduce the resolution,” meaning the final shot will be a little grainy or fuzzy, Maxbauer says. “My advice is to get as close to the salad as possible, whether holding the camera straight above the plate in a bird’s eye view, or shooting low for a candid, intimate perspective.” Rather than centering your salad in the frame, move a little off-center…or better yet, play around with cropping afterward! DIAL UP THE FRESHNESS! Believe it or not, if you add filters to photos of your loved ones on the regular, you’re already more than qualified to filter your food photos and make ‘em look fab. “For me, filters are most tricky when they are applied to people and skin tones, because a tone that looks altered or skewed is an immediate red flag,” Maxbauer says. Luckily, that’s not an issue with food still lifes. To highlight the veggies’ vivid hues, play around with filters, and try bumping up the brightness and saturation. “That hyper-color makes food look fresh and good enough to reach out and bite,” she adds. And—lucky you!—your next step is to grab a fork and do just that. Bon appetit! Like this post? Check out more here! Summer Movie Night with Foodstirs Host a Sandwich Extravaganza!  Fire-Up the Grill! 

Home Salad Bar

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Creating a Healthy Mix Just saying that you’re headed to the salad bar is enough to make you feel virtuous, but not all salad fixings are created equal. In fact, if you choose poorly, you could end up with a bowlful of fat and calories — and not so much nutrition. Choose wisely, on the other hand, and that salad can be a super-healthy meal complete with several servings of vegetables, protein and numerous essential nutrients. As a general rule of thumb, avoid prepared salads (like tuna or pasta), as well as high-fat dressings (like blue cheese or ranch). Instead, opt for the freshest, most-colorful array of veggies mixed with lean sources of protein. Here are nutritionists’ top choices for creating a healthy mix. Dark Leafy Greens Skip past the anemic-looking iceberg lettuce and head straight for the kale, spinach and arugula. The richer the color of the leaves, the richer they are in nutrients. Dark leafy greens are rich in vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, B vitamins, folate, beta carotene, lutein and numerous flavonoids (antioxidant compounds). “You’ll get lutein and zeaxanthin for eye health, and they’re a source of dietary nitrates which have a vasodilatory effect,” explains Leslie Bonci, R.D., director of sports nutrition at the UPMC Center for Sports Medicine, Pittsburgh. Broccoli This vegetable is a member of the cruciferous family (which also includes kale, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower). Cruciferous vegetables contain a unique category of phytonutrients called glucosinolates, which research shows to be important for preventing cancer. Carrots As the name would suggest, carrots are one of the richest sources of the antioxidant beta carotene, which has been shown to be beneficial for vision, as well as preventing cardiovascular disease and some cancers. Beets Antioxidants such as anthocyanins give beets their rich red color. And they are also what give beets their wonderful anti-inflammatory properties and heart-protective benefits. Beets are a rich source of folate, as well as minerals like potassium and manganese. Bell Peppers Red, yellow and orange peppers are great for adding vitamin C to your salad. In fact, a cup of chopped red pepper has almost three times as much vitamin C as an orange. Beans To make a salad into more of a meal, you’ll want to add some protein. “Beans are a great option because they are high in fiber and protein,” says Pam Fullenweider, R.D.N., a nutritionist in Houston. “Good choices include pinto, kidney, black beans, edamame or chickpeas.” Tuna Fish is an excellent source of lean protein, plus it’s rich in heart-healthy Omega-3 fatty acids. “Just be sure to avoid prepared tuna that’s mixed with lots of mayonnaise or oil,” says Fullenweider. Quinoa Adding a whole grain to your salad will not only fill you up (and leave you feeling fuller for longer), it will also add some important nutrients to the mix. Quinoa is an especially healthy choice because it contains protein, fiber, plus beneficial antioxidant phytonutrients. Sunflower Seeds Sprinkle a spoonful of these on top of your salad for a nice crunch, nutty flavor, and a healthy dose of vitamin E and selenium. Olive Oil and Vinegar Creamy dressings can add unnecessary fat and calories to your salad. And even premade vinaigrettes often contain sugar and more oil than vinegar. “Instead, dress your salad with a drizzle of oil and vinegar,” suggests Bonci. “And make it more vinegar than oil — limit yourself to about a thumbnail-sized amount of oil.”

Home Salad Bar

Home Salad Bar

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