Are you stuck in a salad rut? Do you avoid eating salads because you think they are (yawn) boring? Not filling enough? Maybe you just don’t want to deal with the hassle you THINK it will take to make one.
Here we have compiled 7 super easy ways not only to upgrade the health status of your salad, but also add a total “YUM” factor. Enjoy!
1) Add nuts or seeds. Forget the croutons and top your greens with raw or toasted cashews, pecans, walnuts, almonds, pumpkin or sunflower seeds. Just 2-3 tablespoons will do the trick. Along with the extra crunch you’ll pack in some extra protein, fiber, magnesium, potassium and healthy fats. Oh, and it will make the salad more filling.
2) Toss in some fruit. Berries, diced melon, sliced pears or chopped apples are a fantastic addition to salads. They add a hint of sweetness and crunch/texture that can change any salad from “eh” to “wow!”
3) Vary your greens. Most people get stuck on Romaine or mixed greens but your taste buds will soar when you switch those out (or combine with) the likes of arugula, watercress, or escarole. They add a flavor all on their own and greatly enhance the nutrition profile of your salad (think antioxidant superpower, vitamins A and C, potassium, calcium B vitamins, etc). To save time, look for bagged (already washed) greens in the supermarket.
4) Shred your veggies. This works beautifully with root veggies like carrots, beets, fennel and celeriac. Simply use a handheld shredder or my favorite kitchen tool (the mini Cuisinart) and viola! – You will have shredded veggies in literally seconds flat. The colors are vibrant, crunchy texture is divine, and the added fiber is a huge bonus.
5) Think rainbow. Salads are more fun to eat when their colors POP. Toss in a yellow or orange pepper, shaved raw or cooked vibrant beets, bright orange carrots (or try the rainbow carrots available in markets). Remember, color equals nutrients so each color delivers a different array of disease fighting antioxidants.
6) Use a fantastic homemade dressing. This you should be doing every time, as homemade dressings are SO much healthier than store bought. Check out our post on how to make your own salad dressing here. No need to be intimidating. Dressings can be made in 1-5 minutes!
7) Go for balance. The main reason most people don’t feel full for long when they eat salad is it doesn’t have the right balance of nutrients. if your salad is supposed to serve as a MEAL, be sure to include a healthy protein and fat serving. For protein, go for leftover chicken or lean meat, tuna, a hard boiled egg, or some beans. For fats, think nuts/seeds (as in upgrade #1), some slices of avocado, and/or your homemade dressing. A balanced salad will hold you all afternoon and keep afternoon munchies at bay.
As far as the “it takes too long to make one” excuse, try not to let that deter you. Here are some work-arounds:
- Use pre-prepped ingredients like shredded cabbage, shredded carrots, pre-cooked vacuum-packed beets, triple washed greens
- Make extra! Just don’t dress the whole salad beforehand so it doesn’t get soggy in the fridge
- Turn your leftover dinner into a salad. For instance, if you have leftover roasted veggies and chicken, combine and call it a salad!
Let us know . . . do you ever find yourself in a salad rut? Struggle for ideas? Have a favorite salad tip? Check out these luscious salad recipes on our site.