As you may or may not be aware, I eat salad almost every day. Not a little one. I use a seven cup bowl for salad and occasionally overfill it.
It occurred to me that other people might be interested in the tips and tricks I’ve learned to encourage myself to eat more salad. So here it goes!
1. Start small.
I didn’t always eat this much salad. In fact, I remember a time in my life when I didn’t eat enough vegetables. So I started with a challenge: Buy and eat a bag of lettuce every week.
This challenge was more difficult at the start than I’d anticipated. I really had to change a bunch of things to get in a small salad every day. The challenge also worked. After about six months, I moved from a small bag of lettuce to one of those big boxes of lettuce, buying and eating one of those every week.
That led me to the next point.
2. Lettuce does not equal salad.
I got tired of eating that much leafy green stuff every week. Even though I’d change the box and get different varieties. It was too much of the same thing.
That was when I discovered what I call my “crunchy” salads. The base of those salads is not lettuce, or spinach, or any other leafy green. Instead, I might be starting with half a cucumber. Or maybe a large amount of chopped up cauliflower. Maybe cabbage. A week ago or so I bought an avocado and used that for the base of my salad.
I’m still supposed to eat a certain amount of leafy greens every day. When I’m having crunchy salads, I’ll have kale chips or maybe cook up some spinach with butter, garlic, and lemon.
3. Determine your preferred salad flavor profile.
Though I don’t eat a lot of sweets (I do try to stay in ketosis most of the time) I have discovered that I prefer a sweeter salad to one that is more savory or bitter. It doesn’t have to be super sweet, but I enjoy salads with some sweet elements in it.
So figure out what you really like in a salad, then fix yourself those. It makes a huge difference.
4. Take advantage of toppings.
We live in the age of consumerism. There are TONS of available toppings now in the grocery store. Find the ones that you like. Then, once you go through those, change them. Buy something else.
This week, I have the following toppings: roasted pecans, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, pepitas, raisins, and nutritional yeast. In my cupboard, I also have dried cranberries, coconut flakes, walnuts. In the past, I’ve also added freeze-dried strawberries, dried blueberries, hazelnuts. These are the toppings that I really enjoy, but I’ll switch between them all the time to keep my salads interesting.
5. Have a variety of dressings.
I currently have six different salad dressings in my fridge. Seven if you want to count the oil and vinegar on the counter. Because I eat salad every day, I need to make sure that my salads don’t all taste the same. So not only do I have a variety of dressings, I mix and match them all the time, coming up with new, different combinations.
I do not make my own salad dressing. That seems like too much. Maybe because of how much time it takes me to make my salads. Or because they frequently call for special ingredients that I then have to go buy.
6. Dress your salad well.
I prefer a well-dressed salad. I know some people like a dry salad. Not me. Bring on the dressing. I want a lot of it. Because I try to stay in ketosis, 70-80% of my calories are supposed to come from fat. Not a lot of fat in a salad. So I always add avocado oil to my salads. Again, that makes sure that my salad is dressed well.
7. Add herbs.
During the summer, every time I make a salad I take a trip through the garden with scissors and I clip fresh herbs that I can add. Summer time herbs include: marjoram, sorrel, lemon thyme, basil, hyssop. Sometimes I’ll throw in oregano or mint as well. I don’t like the lemon balm – that’s a texture thing.
During the winter, I buy herbs, like dill, parsley, more basil, etc. to add. It brings another level to your salads.
8. Salad doesn’t have to be cold.
Make yourself a warm spinach and bacon salad. Grill some romaine.
When I could eat eggs, one of my favorite ways to have salad was to soft-boil a couple of eggs then add those, so that the runny yolks warmed up all the greens.
I may end up wilting some spinach for lunch today, since talking about it has made me crave it.
9. Take advantage of fruit.
I never add a lot of fruit to my salads because that would make them too sweet. But sometimes I get a hankering. This last week I bought an apple, then added a third of it to my salad over three days. I’ve also bought an orange, sectioned it out, then chopped up two to three slices per day in a salad. When we have fresh strawberries, I’ll sometimes add those. Or blueberries. Or grapes. It’s just another flavor to add, to make your salads taste different.
10. Salad exchanges.
Mason jar salads are a thing. Stack all your salad ingredients in a mason jar and carry toppings and salad dressing separate. It’s an easy way to carry salad, as well as to mix it all together once you are ready to eat it.
I read once about a woman who organized a salad exchange at her office. There was a group of them all trying to eat more healthy, so once a week, they’d all make a mason jar salad and exchange it with one another. They had a rotating spreadsheet that listed food allergies, etc.
If I worked in an office I would totally organize one of these. It may or may not work for you. I regularly read recipes for salads looking for new ideas, other things I could add.
So there you go! Leah’s Top Ten Salad Hints.
Do you have any hints that you’d like to add? What is your favorite salad?