Let me ask you something. What do you think of when you hear the word salad? Lettuce? Lots and lots of lettuce. Skinny, unhappy people chomping on lettuce. Rabbit food. Dirt...
OK, we get the picture.
Whether you love salads or hate em, stick with me here... at the end of this post there's a chance to win my favorite kitchen appliance....
Here's the thing, salads are really sadly misunderstood. The truth is no one wants to sit around and eat lettuce. Not even the skinniest, healthiest people want to eat boring food that tastes like dirt.
There's a serious salad stereotyping problem going on. And let me tell you, if you can just get that stereotype out of your head it might be the best thing you do for your health.
You see, a salad should be so much more than lettuce.
Those green leaves should be just ONE ingredient of MANY with different textures, tastes and colors. A salad should be bursting with flavor, no two bites the same. It should be THAT interesting. And if it's not, I'm sorry but hopefully this will come as a relief... you're doing it wrong. That, my friends, is the secret to making a salad that's not boring and one that you actually want to eat.
Can you tell I feel quite strongly about busting salad stereotypes? I do so much in fact that when I started this blog I called it MeggSalad wanting to change the way people think about salad. Since then my blog has evolved into a website as my health coaching practice has grown. But these salad making tips (below), I go back to again and again with clients so I thought you might find them helpful too.
Here is my checklist for making a salad that's healthy and filling and delicious. Follow these steps and you'll end up with an amazing, unique, can't-put-the-fork-down, I-want-to-have-that-again salad or "MeggSalad" every time.
Salad Making Tips for a Healthy AND Filling Salad Every. Time.
- Lay down the lettuce. Start with a solid base (a couple 2-3 handfuls) of the greens - spinach, romaine, mixed greens, red or green leaf lettuce, kale, etc. The darker the green the better!
- Load up the veggies. Go ahead, bulk it up. Use raw and fresh or the leftovers from dinner last night. Carrots, bell pepper, beets, radish, broccoli, cabbage, onion, snap peas, cauliflower, roasted sweet potatoes...
- Add interest with fruit. Fresh or dried a little sweetness makes it more interesting. berries, peach, apple, pear, orange, date, raisins, cranberries... avocado!
- Pump it up with protein. Protein is key to a filling salad. Chicken, shrimp, salmon, beef, garbanzo beans, black beans, edamame, quinoa...
- Sprinkle in nuts and seeds. Give it some crunch with a handful of walnuts, sliced almonds, pecans, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, help seeds...
- Drizzle the dressing. For my favorite "no-dressing" dressing squeeze 1/2 a lemon over your salad and then drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil then maybe season with sea salt and black pepper.
- Toss and Enjoy! Sit back, relax and savor all the flavor in your anything but boring salad.
Here are some more tips to help make this whole process easier, and tastier, so you'll want to do it every day...
- Stock up on dry ingredients. Things like nuts, seeds and dried fruit go a long way adding flavor and texture. And they're items you can always have on hand because they stay fresh for a long time.
- Chop your veggies in advance. Chop or use a food processor to pre-cut a bunch of veggies (carrots, celery, radish, etc.) and store them in containers in the fridge so they’re ready to go. You can also use one of my favorite kitchen tools - this OXO Handheld Mandoline slicer. It's a small tool but it's my secret weapon for making restaurant-quality salads because you can get things really thinly sliced. I love it especially for getting extra thin slices of red onion.
- Wash and store your greens. To keep greens from spoiling quickly, wash and dry them well then store then in a produce saver like this one I use. They'll last at least twice as long.
- Use leftovers. Whatever you had for dinner the night before is the perfect salad topper. Chicken. Rice. Broccoli. Roasted potatoes. Just throw it in.
- Vary the tastes and textures. Cover the spectrum: crunchy, smooth, salty, sweet.
- Experiment. Don’t be afraid to try something that may seem a little out of the ordinary. If you like it by itself, there’s a good chance it will taste even better combined with everything else you like.
OK, now does this make you want to eat a salad? I'd love to see your salad creations this week.
How about a little contest?
Post a pic of a salad you make this week to Instagram or Facebook and include @meganadamsbrown and #MeggSalad.
The most MeggSalad salad will win an OXO Handheld Mandoline Slicer!
I can't wait to see your #MeggSalad!
P.S. Speaking of MeggSalad, if you're a member of my Facebook group, the MeggSalad.com page is transitioning to a new page: Megan Adams Brown, CHC. Please go and "Like" the new page - Megan Adams Brown, CHC - so we can stay in touch on Facebook. Thank you!!
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