A little while ago I read a former teammate and Facebook friend’s post that read something like “Lunch isn’t as exciting when you have a salad.” Cue the jaw drop, the eye bug and the gasp. SAY WHAT?!?! That is the absolute opposite of how I feel. And I eat a lot of salad. Every. Single. Day. Now I am not talkin’ bout no iceberg lettuce with mushy tomatoes and celery with a bland (and probably overly sugary store-bought dressing). I am talking about flavor and texture packet salad that you get excited to eat when you open up your to-go container at lunch. Make all the other kids jealous and bribe you to swap their soggy sandwiches with your gorgeous salad by checking out these tips.
#1-Choose flavorful greens!
Steer away from the iceberg! Leafy greens like spinach, arugula and kale pack more flavor and vitamins & minerals, such as K, B6 and folate, AND make you feel full. Not to mention they just taste better. Have you ever had arugula?! It’s got great flavor. With greens that tend to be more expensive, I create my own salad mix to stretch those further.
#2-Eat the rainbow. It’s pretty! (And I don’t mean Skittles)
Visually appealing food will really make you excited to eat it. Chop different veggies to add to your salads every Sunday or whenever you do your grocery shopping. Keeping it in a glass container easy to reach will make you more likely to use it, getting the health benefits and not to mention throwing away less food and money. My go-to salad veggies: Bell peppers (especially orange and yellow), cucumber, carrots, cherry tomatoes,avocado (always), & cabbage.
I love adding pumpkin, sunflower or hemp seeds to my salads to give it a bit of a crunch. I also love adding lentils & walnuts, too! Plus, beans, seeds and nuts are a source of protein and/or healthy fats. Nom nom nom.
#4-Mix it up
Add herbs, marinated artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, roasted peppers, capers, olives, FRUIT! etc. to give your salad a little pizazz. A small amount of these ingredients can go a long way.
#5-Dress it up!
I was raised in a house where we ate salad every night, but never ever had a bottle of dressing in the fridge. My mom made her own and it has become the famous “Aunt Joan salad.” Lately I have been really into adding a tablespoon of hummus to my salad and that becomes my dressing or my other obsession is tahini and lemon juice, EVOO & balsamic, baba ghanoush, tahini & lemon, carrot-ginger, etc.
#6-Extra tip: Pack your dressing in a separate container and bring with you or dress it up in the a.m.!
Strawberry basil simple spring salad
3 c. spinach, arugula, amaranth (pictured) or a mix of your favorite greens
1/2 c. chopped strawberries
1/2 large avocado, diced
1/4 c. walnuts
1/4 c. chopped basil
2-3 tbsp. pumpkin seeds
1-2 tbsp. hemp seeds
Lemon-ginger tahini dressing:
1/4 c. tahini
1/4 c. water (or more for thinner dressing)
juice from 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. chopped ginger
S & P to taste