Although I’m a firm supporter of the ‘ditch the diet’ mentality, salads are also a staple in my diet. They’re easy, reliable, and if I perchance don’t have vegetables at any other meal that day, at least I know I fit in plenty! But how do I bare to eat one every day? Because I make sure they are FREAKING DELICIOUS; and other easy tricks that you’ll find below!
1. Prep ahead for an easy “Throw and Go” lunch
Once you know what you like in your salad, try your best to chop or cook said food ahead of time. If you’re making chicken for dinner, bake a few more cutlets to have for salad for the week. If you’re chopping onions to go with your morning eggs, why not chop an entire onion so you can have some in the fridge that you can literally just throw into your salad when you’re ready?
As much as I love that a lot of meal-preppers literally prep all of their meals for the week-this is kind of taxing for me. If you find it taxing too, try to take about 30 minutes a week to cut all your veggies so that way when you’re ready to prep your lunch you can just throw it together the night before.
2. Balance your nutrients
The base of your salad should ideally be lettuce and various vegetables but the key to not feeling like you’re starving after a salad is to top it with carbs, protein, and fat. If you’ve finished your salad and you’re still hungry, you’re probably not consuming enough macronutrients.
- Some complex carbs you can add to your salad include grains like quinoa, couscous, barley, or starchy vegetables such as squash or sweet potato.
- Proteins that you can add include chicken, fish, beans, eggs, or red meat.
- Great fat options include avocado, plant-based oils, cheese, and nuts.
Although these options are all great foods to add to a salad to fill you up, remember proper portions are an important way to maintain a balanced diet. Follow these portion recommendations to know how much you should actually be adding.
3. Keep your fridge stocked with the basics
Start making the staples to your salad part of your weekly shopping list. There are a few things that are typically always in my salad: lettuce, craisins, and feta cheese. With these 3 things, I know I’ll love any salad I throw together. They’re always stocked in my house, reassuring me that anything else I have I can just throw right in and enjoy.
4. Learn what goes together, and make sure you like it!
What do I mean what goes together? Learn what foods (especially vegetables) that compliment one another. For example, I’m in love with cilantro and lime (and tacos ;] ). So you better believe that I sometimes rely on a good taco salad with different beans, avocado, arugula, cilantro, lime, tomatoes, and maybe a little blue cheese or feta. It’s one of those combos I look forward to after a long morning.
5. Make it easy to keep consistent, yet equally as easy to switch-up
This is a simple tip that I don’t know how to phrase any other way. It’s pretty stressful to come up with a different salad every day- how exhausting! Find a salad combo you enjoy having multiple days in a row-or can be easily switched up by simply swapping the protein in it- or anything else that’s simple. I typically eat a similar salad every day with small changes depending on what’s in my fridge.
Keep it consistent during the week for ease but don’t be afraid to try something totally new! A cobb style is great this week, but why not a southwest salad next week?
6. Add fresh herbs and other powerful flavors
A few chopped basil leaves can take a summer salad of tomatoes and cucumbers a long way! A little garlic and lemon juice can equally make raw kale actually enjoyable to eat. Don’t afraid to experiencer with herbs and spices to give your salad a little kick.
7. Choose a variety of greens
I hear that a lot of people struggle with eating dark greens- which is too bad since they are much more nutrient dense than lighter leaves. In that case, try to vary the green in your salad. A handful of spinach added to your iceberg can make your salad a little healthier, while also adding flavor. Lettuce like arugula or mustard greens can add some spice, which can be very exciting paired with other flavors.
If you need some salad ideas, feel free to check out some examples I have here including a free download of some salads that I really like. Let me know if you like this download because I’ll add several more recipes to it if you do!