How to Build a Salad That Keeps You Satisfied & Feeling Good
Contrary to popular belief: Salads can be satisfying. They bring you energy, vibrancy, and connect you to food straight from the Earth.
Since I’m a huge proponent of incorporating more plants into your meals (vegetables, fruit, nuts, legumes, seeds, herbs, and spices), I commit to a salad a day, especially in spring and summer. It’s an easy solution to pack in an abundance of phytonutrients and all those colorful fruits & veggies.
Plus, eating a variety of plant-based foods is one of the simplest (and most affordable) ways to enhance your overall well-being. It’s good for your mind, your body, and the planet, too!
So, if you’re thinking that you need to up your salad game and ditch those boring bowls of wilted lettuce, let me introduce you to my foolproof method…
Elise’s Salad Hacks
Recipes Instead of getting stuck on a list of ingredients, stick to the season. The produce and colors are getting brighter + juicier by the day! Mother Nature knows what’s best when it comes to giving our bodies what they need at just the right time. (THINK: Hydrating and lighter foods like tomatoes, cucumbers and melons in the spring and summer and heartier foods such as root veggies in the fall and winter.)
Prep Planning is key for quick + easy assembly. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Chop your raw veggies and roast or grill a batch, too. Or just leave your ingredients washed and ready to eat. Then store them in the fridge to mix and match all week!
Balance Include protein of choice + healthy fats (nuts, seeds, avocado) for sustained energy, balanced blood sugar, AND a better mood. This is non-negotiable!!
Texture Crunch is essential for satisfaction. (I can’t stress this enough!) Roasted chickpeas, almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, carrots, celery, and snap peas all do the trick!
A Little Sweet I always say this... there are two types of people, those who mix in fruit and those who don’t. Team fruit here. Try fresh berries or during the summer grill peaches or pineapple for a fun fruity kick!
Themes If you run out of ideas, pick items that go together for inspiration. Asian, Mexican, Greek, Thai, Moroccan to name a few.
Finishing Touch Wait until the last minute to toss with homemade dressing (lemony vinaigrette or tahini + lemon for me!) and then add seeds, herbs, microgreens, and/or edible flowers to top it off!
Need Some Extra Inspiration?
Use some of my favorite creations to encourage you to come up with your own.
This Grilled Peach, Zucchini, and Quinoa Salad with a Lemony Basil Vinaigrette is summer at its’ finest. Or my go-to 5-Minute Salad is handy when you’re short on time. The zucchini noodles in this Thai-inspired salad are always a hit. Or keep your gut healthy and your mind happy with a Kale Cabbage Slaw.
If you’re out of ideas, explore the local farmers' market (or wander through the grocery store) and buy one new ingredient to add to your salad every week. Choose a plant you’ve never tried before or haven’t eaten in a while. Challenge yourself to make a meal featuring this new plant-of-the-week. More variety = more nutrients and prevents the dreaded salad boredom!
Then grab a fork, give thanks for all this fresh food, and dig in!