Eating fresh greens is a great way to get the fiber, vitamins, and minerals that are part of a healthy diet. Pregnant women and new mothers benefit especially from dark leafy greens, which are rich in folate, iron, and calcium. Spinach, collards, turnip and mustard greens, and romaine are all good choices. In general, the darker the color, the more nutrient-rich the green is. Women are often advised to eat smaller, more frequent meals during pregnancy and while nursing, and salads like this are a great way to get the vitamins, calcium, and healthy protein our bodies need.

So if you're tired of iceberg salads, and want to try something different that's packed with nutrients, here's an alternative that's easy and delicious. If you have everything on hand, throwing together a salad like this is really simple. And with some good whole-grain bread on the side it's a satisfying, nutritious meal.

Of course you can add or change whatever you want; if you like walnuts better than pecans or if you want to throw in some dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds, make it the way you like it! Here's my favorite version:

For the Apple Cider Vinaigrette
  • ½ c olive oil
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp apple juice
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • ½ tsp chopped fresh parsley
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • Pinch of salt

Put all of the ingredients in a jar and shake it up. That's it! Making salad dressing at home is really easy, cheap, and it's usually lower in sodium and sugar than commercial dressing.

Apple Pecan Salad Ingredients

For the salad:

  • Any combination of fresh, dark leafy greens you like: spinach, arugula, romaine, mustard greens, collard greens, baby kale, beet greens, etc. Packaged spring mix salads usually have a good combination.
  • Pecans, toasted if you like
  • 1 apple; crisp varieties like honeycrisp or pink lady are good.
  • cheese, any kind you like; I used smoked swiss this time.

Toss the ingredients together, top with the dressing, and enjoy!

Apple Pecan Salad

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