How often to do you throw together a salad? This staple of mine can be your best lunch ever and one of the healthiest moves you make every day by filling your plate with tons of greens and veggies. People often tell me they want to start having a salad for lunch but are unsure of where to start! I eat a salad almost every day and it’s rarely the same thing twice. After plenty of trial and error over the years, here are my five super simple tips for making awesome salads and never getting bored with your lunch time power bowl!
Super Salad Rules
1. Fresh Leaves
- Starters: try a romaine mix and baby lettuces. They are sweet and crunchy. Nothing too strong but a major upgrade from iceberg!
- Next Level: Go for raw spinach, spicy arugula or even a baby lettuce and raw kale mix. These may take a little getting used to so ease your way in if you are new to salads.
- BUY A SALAD SPINNER. Mine is usually on the kitchen counter and rarely makes it back into the cabinet, that’s how much i use it. Trust me…if you do not own one invest. Don’t walk, run! It helps your leaves dry off and stay dry and crisp & will totally revolutionize your salads if you are getting soggy leaves from rinsing. Also helps the dressing stick to the leaves since they are free of water.
2. Raw Veggies, 2 to 3 is all you need to mix it up!
- Add as many fresh raw veggies as your heart desires!
- Baby Carrots
- Chopped Red, Orange, & Yellow Bell Peppers
- Jicama (my NEW favorite…so gooood)
3. Something Crunchy
- Make sure one of your veggies from step 2 has crunch like chopped baby carrots!
- Raw pepitas or sunflower seeds
- Small pieces of nuts like almonds or cashews
- A sprinkle of crushed up kale chips
- These are a few of your healthy subs for the old favorite: gluten-calorie-bomb croutons. Yes, avoid those!
4. Something Creamy
- This gives your salad a super texture by helping your mix “stick” a bit.
- Avocado (my favorite!)
- Hard Boiled Egg
- Crumbles of feta cheese or goat cheese
5. The “Bonus”
- This one is the real secret to awesome salad. This is the stunner ingredient. I don’t always have one but when you want a superstar salad try adding something like:
- A few figs (fresh if you can find them or a few dried and chopped)
- Roasted artichoke
- Roasted butternut squash (it’s amazing over spinach with a little goat cheese!)
- Sautéed fiddlehead ferns
- Sun-dried Tomatoes
- Cinnamon Pecans
- My daily salads are Steps 1-4 and then sometimes I get the ‘bonus’.
I usually top my daily lunch salad with a serving of pulled chicken to add protein and keep me feeling full all afternoon! You can also add canned wild salmon or tuna to the top of the salad or any protein you have left over from the night before! The final KEY ingredient is, of course, salad dressing. I rarely eat bottled or pre-packaged salad dressing because of the weird additives as well as the extra sodium and sugar that definitely DO NOT need to be there. Once you start making your own dressing, you will never go back!! Want to know how I make dressing every day? Stay tuned for Part 2 this week for my favorite go-to homemade salad dressings!