I can eat a salad every day, but I know I am not the majority of people.
Why would you want to eat salad every day? My list of motives includes a salad’s versatility, fiber, crunch, nutrients and satisfaction. Plus, getting a few servings of veggies out of the way is simple with a daily salad.
There are a few tricks I use that encourage me to eat salad almost every day. To make it one of your staple healthy foods, here are some of my strategies.
» Make a good dressing to keep on hand. Oil-based dressings are simple, healthy and versatile. My favorite uses equal portions of olive oil and vinegar (any kind), a drop or two of Dijon mustard and herbs such as basil, thyme, and oregano. Add a fresh squeeze of orange, lemon or lime juice, and a drop of honey to give it some sweet balance.
I usually keep this in a salad dressing jar, along with a jar of homemade ranch for my kids(recipe below).
» Add nutrient-boosting extras.
This doesn’t include croutons or sugary dressings. These flavor-enhancing extras will keep you satisfied until your next meal.
Seeds: My favorites are raw pumpkin seeds, but sunflower and chia seeds are great, too.
Nuts: Chop or crush them to distribute evenly, and limit the quantity if you choose the candied variety.
Fruits: Fresh, sliced strawberries are my favorite, but avocado is a fruit, too, and I almost always include it. Sections of clementine, chopped apple or pear, or freeze-dried fruits are also great for crunch.
Olives or sun-dried tomatoes: These are a salty add-on, so consider the sodium if you have high blood pressure.
Non-starches: These are vegetables that add nutrients and crunch for little calories. My favorites include shredded carrot, tomato, cucumber, mushrooms and diced celery.
» Use a salad container for lunches.
You can buy many varieties of salad containers, or keep it simple with a bowl or jar. Mason jars are helpful in making a pretty, layered salad. Start with dressing on the bottom, and top with crisp non-starches, beans or lentils; olives or fruits; nuts and seeds; then greens. When it’s time to eat, turn the jar upside down to mix. Bonus: You can make these the night before.
» Buy a couple of different leafy options and clean them ahead. A salad is more interesting, and can be healthier, with different textures and colors. Kale, baby spinach and green lettuces, like romaine, are easy to find, and commonly found in an organic version, which I prefer. For variety, look for purple lettuces, mustard greens, bok choy, arugula, collard greens or other varieties.
Our Family’s Favorite Homemade Ranch Dressing
I like this variety because I know the spices and can identify all of the ingredients. It lasts about a week to 10 days in the fridge.
½ cup sour cream (I use light sour cream)
½ cup avocado oil mayonnaise
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic clove
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon dried parsley
½ to 1 teaspoon dried dill
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon onion powder
1/3 to ½ cup buttermilk (light or full fat works equally well)
Mix all ingredients in blender, starting with 1/3 cup buttermilk. Add more buttermilk if you like your ranch thinner.