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Brown bag meals: Easy-to-pack salads

Image: © iStockphoto.com

A crisp, nutritious salad can be surprisingly filling and the perfect food to keep you moving and energized through your shift.

These sister salads are packed with crispy greens, succulent fruit and a yummy dressing. They also use some of the same ingredients, which means you can get variety out of one shopping trip! To keep your greens crisp and your fruit plump and juicy, place your dressing, fresh fruit and salad in separate containers. Toss all the ingredients together right before serving and enjoy a healthy salad that is quick and easy, and provides you that pick-me-up burst of nutrition to keep you operating in top shape during a busy shift.

Blackberry Spinach Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing

2 cups fresh spinach
8 to 10 fresh blackberries
4 large strawberries
2 ounces crumbled feta cheese
5 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
2 tbsp. chopped walnuts, almonds or pecans (optional)

Toss ingredients together and serve with bottled balsamic vinaigrette dressing, or try this homemade version:

¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
½ clove garlic (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
Whisk all ingredients together and serve.

Shopping list for Blackberry Spinach Salad:

1 bunch fresh spinach
1 container blackberries
1 container strawberries
1 container cherry tomatoes
1 small container feta cheese, crumbled
1 small package of chopped walnuts/almonds/pecans
1 bottle balsamic dressing OR olive oil, balsamic vinegar, 1 clove garlic, salt and pepper
8 cooked and peeled medium sized shrimp

Fresh Berry Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing

2 cups baby spinach or mixed salad greens
5 to 7 large strawberries, sliced
2 to 3 ounces blueberries
2 tbsp. chopped walnuts, almonds or pecans (optional)

Toss together and serve with bottled poppy seed dressing, or try this tangy, sweet homemade version:

¼ cup white sugar
½ tsp. salt
2 tbsp. white wine vinegar
½ cup vegetable oil or olive oil
1 tsp. poppy seeds

Whisk all ingredients together and serve.

Shopping list for Fresh Berry Salad:

1 bunch fresh spinach salad
1 small container strawberries
1 small container blueberries
1 small package of walnuts/almonds/pecans
1 bottle poppy seed dressing OR white sugar, white wine vinegar, olive oil or vegetable oil, poppy seeds, salt

breadLast but not least, add warm corn bread, a whole-grain baguette or a slice of crusty French bread to turn your salad into the perfect comfort food that will keep you energized all day long.

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Anita Bruzzese

Anita Bruzzese is an award-winning journalist. Her book, 45 Things You Do That Drive Your Boss Crazy...And How to Avoid Them, was named one of the top 10 most notable business books by the New York Post in 2007. For more information, visit her Website at 45things.com.
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