It might surprise you that I’ve never been a big fan of salad. Unless it’s doused in cheese and toppings and some kind of creamy dressing. Yum!
To me, lettuce is the most useless food – it’s basically all water, no taste. But, salad is one of the easiest ways to hit those daily veggie goals. So I started experimenting with different bases and healthier toppings to create the ultimate sexy salad. Below are some tips to go from drab to fab:
Try something new
One day I needed something quick and easy for lunch, so I grabbed one of those Dole Chopped Salad Kits – it had a mix of carrots and kale and cabbage, so I figured I’d give it a go. It was delicious! Now I make all of my salads with cabbage – and some arugula – because they both have a nice peppery flavor – and are more palatable than just plain lettuce.
Stick with veggies you like
It also might surprise you that I don’t love ALL veggies. I thought I hated peppers until recently – turns out I just don’t like the green ones because they’re on the bitter side. But orange, yellow, and red? Yes, please! If you aren’t a huge veggie lover, stick with the one or two you do like so it doesn’t feel like torture to eat your lunch. Sweeter veggies like cherry tomatoes, snap peas, and baby carrots are safe choices.
Don’t forget to accessorize
There are a ton of options to give you some crunch, a touch of sweetness, or that wild pop of flavor you crave. A few of my favorites are avocado, craisins, sunflower seeds, frizzled onions, bacon bits, and clementine sections. Simple salads are so boring…and overrated.
Add some protein
A salad without some kind of protein is really just bunny food – you’ll be hungry within the hour. Add some substance in the form of hard-boiled eggs, shrimp, chicken, tofu – you name it. This will help keep you full and add variety to your meals. Especially if you’re eating a lot of salads during the week. I recently started using a can of chunk light, low sodium tuna. It takes literally 5 seconds to open the can and adds 24 grams of protein.
Find a good dressing
A lot of store-bought dressings are filled with crap, like added sugars in the form of corn syrup. Yuck. Choose something flavorful that won’t break the sugar and calorie bank. If you MUST have your Thousand Island, try diluting it with a little lime juice (trust me on this one) first. You can also switch up your dressings to change the whole “feel” of your salad.
So, if you’re like me and you’re not sold on “traditional” salad with boring leaves and such, you might want to give some of these ideas a try.
One more thing…
You know how you always have to add more dressing because some parts are just too dry? Usually, it’s because we try to use one serving of dressing on a monster salad made for an entire family! Even healthy foods should be eaten in moderation.
Here’s my equation for a perfectly dressed salad:
- 1 cup base veggies (cabbage, arugula, endive, etc.)
- 1 cup fun veggies (cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, etc.)
- 3/4 cup protein (chicken, chopped egg, tuna, etc.)
- 1/4 cup accessories (avocado, craisins, nuts, etc.)
- 2 tablespoons dressing
Voila – The perfect salad!