Let’s talk about building salads.
Building a salad can be daunting. Only because, for most people, they generally don’t want to eat the salad they’re building. Let’s face it, there are not a lot of people who get excited for a salad everyday. I typically eat salad everyday, and I can tell you for the most part I am actually happy to eat them everyday.
When I build a salad, I ensure it is nutrient dense, filling, and delicious. But, my salad building skills have not always been this way! So I’m here to share with you the tips and tricks I have learned over the years for building a salad you can be excited about.
I totally understand that most people get sick of salads easily, find them boring, and often times people don’t like them at all. But, when you’re starting a healthier lifestyle, salads definitely become an obvious choice for a healthy meal. They are a great way to get an all around balanced meal in one bowl! So, I highly recommend trying to make salads a part of your regular diet. When done right, they can be consistently delicious, satisfying, and nourishing for the body.
My Salad Building Tips
Start with greens. This seems obvious, when building a salad. There are so many options when it comes to what types of greens you use in your salad. The darker the green the better, but if you’re not used to dark leafy greens, start with lighter, like romaine. I stay away from ice berg lettuce, only because it doesn’t have as much nutritional value and I find doesn’t keep me full. My go to is spinach, but I also like kale, mixed greens, arugula, and romaine. It all depends on the flavour you’re going for with your salad!
For example, for a Mexican flavour salad I would use romaine, but for a hearty salad with roasted veggies I would use kale.
*Extra tip! Always massage your kale in the bowl with your hands for a few minutes, makes it a lot less tough and less bitter!
Big salads = full belly. Often times I here people say that salads don’t keep them full. If this is the case, you are probably not building a salad big enough, and maybe not packing it with the right foods to fill that tummy up.
You want to make sure you have a protein. Protein will help keep you full and, will give you the energy you are looking for. I usually use chicken or black beans, but other options are chickpeas, steak, ground turkey, or falafel. Pretty much any kind of protein can be thrown into a salad and it’ll taste good!
Another rule I like to follow when making a salad is, to have at least 3-4 bright colours. Not only does this make your salad more appealing, it adds flavour and makes it nutrient dense!
I also like to add a starchy carb to my salad to make them more harty. And no I don’t mean white pasta or white potatoes, however complex carbohydrates. Some of my favourites include, sweet potatoes, brown rice, chickpeas, peas, and quinoa.
Add fats! People are often afraid of fats, however if you are choosing the right types of fats they can actually help with weight loss. Ironic right? Unsaturated fats can help you burn fat, absorb nutrients, and provide energy. You can find this “fat burning fat” in foods like avocados, seeds, nuts, and olive oil. So you best be adding at least one of these fats to your salad!
Lastly, I think one of the biggest mistakes people make when building a salad has to do with the dressing. If you can help it try your best to make your own dressings! Store bought dressings tend to have tons of fat (not the fat burning fat I’ve talked about), and sneaky sugars! I almost never use store bought dressings, but rather make my own, using olive oil, apple cidar vinegar, dijon mustard, and lemon. Super simple and satisfying. There are tons of different vinegar flavours you can play around with, I stick to the 2:1 rule with oil and vinegar (2 tbsp oil, 1 vinegar). You can also use tahini as a dressing, for an asian flavour you can play around with tamari or low sodium soya sauce and rice vinegar. You’ll need to play around with the ingredients a bit to figure out what you enjoy.
Once you do find those flavours you like your salads will be taken to the next level!
Remember when building a salad…
The more you play around with salads the more you learn about what flavours go well together. Try to remember these tips and your salad building skills will only get better! Remember, greens, colour, protein, carb, fats, homemade dressing! If you need ideas for building salads check out my salads board on Pinterest or try my salad recipes here.
Tell me about your favourite salads in the comments!