Eat More Salads
If you want to eat healthier, salads are your best friend. The USDA recommends healthy adults eat five to nine servings of vegetables per day. A serving is about ½ cup of a cooked vegetable or 1 cup raw vegetables or salad greens. One salad can go a long way toward helping you achieve this goal.
I like having a salad with dinner or as my main course at lunch. Bagged, prewashed salad greens are a bit more expensive than buying whole heads of lettuce but they reduce the amount of time it takes to make a salad and are a good choice if you don’t have a lot of time for meal prep.
Try Some Quick Homemade Dressings
I make my own salad dressing. I got the recipe from my sons’ school, Ashlawn Elementary, which hosts a special salad lunch for students each year. It takes just a few minutes to make and it’s delicious! Combine ¾ c olive oil, ¼ c red wine vinegar (or any vinegar you have on hand), one pressed garlic clove, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, salt, pepper, and a pinch of oregano. Shake until emulsified.
If you have limited time, olive oil, salt, pepper and a squeeze of lemon or lime juice works great, too. Add your oil first, toss with tongs or a couple of forks, add your spices, then toss some more. Add your acid last. You don’t want to drown your salad in dressing—it will make it soggy and less healthful—so remember that a little goes a long way.
Mix and Match Veggie Combinations
Have fun experimenting with different ingredients for your salad. A few of my favorite salad combinations include spring mix, tomatoes, peppers, sunflower seeds, shredded carrots, radishes, chopped apple, and shaved parmesan OR spinach, cubed avocado, sliced green onions, grape tomatoes, croutons, corn, and red onions. Another fun and easy salad to have with this dressing is spinach, blueberries and feta. You can add some chopped or sliced nuts, too!
I like adding different textures to my salad and try to have at least one ingredient that gives it a good crunch. Often, I look at what’s in the fridge and toss it in.
Don’t Forget Your Protein!
Don’t be afraid to add some fats and protein to your salad, like cheese, seeds or nuts. Used in moderation, they can help make your salad more filling and satisfying.
Canned beans, meat, hardboiled eggs, and seafood or fish provide great sources or protein for your salad, too, if you have a few minutes to do the extra work. Another fun combination, which is more or less a modified Niçoise salad, could be something like salad greens, a few forkfuls of canned tuna, tomato, red onion, and maybe something like canned white beans or a cooked, sliced potato. Canned chickpeas are also great on salads. Precooked chicken is also good. Try shredding the meat from a grocery store rotisserie chicken and adding it to your salads. It saves time.
Share Your Recipes
These are my own experiences with salad but I am not a chef or expert! If you like making salads and have a favorite you love, post it in our Facebook group. I’m sure you have some good ideas and combinations I haven’t thought of and I’d love to hear them.