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Add a splash of sunshine to your lunch

(NC) A busy lifestyle can mean that our lunch is a grab-and-go option from a nearby restaurant or grocery store.

This, of course, can mean that little thought is put into its nutritional value. Instead, packing a lunch can be enjoyable and it will help you get valuable nutrients.

“Packaging a simple salad for lunch is one of the easiest ways to help ensure you meet the Canada Food Guide's recommended daily intake for adults of seven to 10 fruits and vegetables,” says Gail Rampersaud, a registered dietitian at the University of Florida. “If you find your salads a little bland, experiment with homemade dressings and replace vinegars or water with 100% orange juice to add a boost of flavour to your meal.”

This refreshing salad is perfect with added protein at lunch. The chia seeds help the orange juice infused dressing thicken as it marinates.

Avocado Cucumber Salad with Chia Yogurt Dressing

1 large ripe avocado or 2 smaller avocadoes

1 each red and yellow pepper, chopped

1 small English cucumber, chopped

Orange Chia Dressing:

1/2 cup (125 ml) Florida orange juice

1/4 cup (60 ml) plain Greek 0% yogurt

2 tbsp (30 ml) chopped fresh cilantro or mint

2 tsp (10 ml) chia seeds

1 small clove garlic, minced

1 tsp (5 ml) each Dijon mustard and granulated sugar

1/4 tsp (1 ml) salt

Peel and pit avocado. Chop avocado and combine with peppers and cucumber into a large bowl.

In a small bowl, whisk together Florida orange juice, yogurt, cilantro, chia seeds, garlic, mustard, sugar and salt. Pour over vegetables and toss to coat; let stand for 15 minutes before serving.

Makes six servings.

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Word count: 286


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