So I have a confession.
I’m a salad lover!
I’ve always loved the crisp cool crunch of lettuce and could literally throw in any toppings and be satisfied. I do have a few “go to” ways to take a bed of lettuce to the next level easily and for very few containers (21 day fix) / points (weight watchers).
This is a pic of my salad from tonight — after a few minutes of me attempting to devour it (I’m always starving after a run/workout!). It’s leftover iceberg (from taco salad made earlier this week), celery, turkey bacon, a hard boiled egg, 1 tablespoon of shredded cheddar, and a homemade greek yogurt ranch dressing. It came out to 2 green containers, 1 red container & 1/2 a blue container or about 6 smartpoints (which may be as many as 8SP if you use a ton of dressing).
Try a few of these tips and Trick out your salads — it might just make a salad lover out of you!!
1. Mix up your greens!
This is probably a no brainer — but it’s so easy to get stuck in an Iceberg or Romaine Lettuce rut!
Mix it up! Try something new!
I love the tender feel of baby greens, but I usually miss the good “crunch” of Romaine — so I’ll mix them! I keep a big tub of greens in the fridge with a dry paper towel between the lettuce and lid to keep it fresh and wilt-free for as long as possible.
Pro-tip: You can mix cooked (sauteed) greens with raw greens!
I do this with Kale and mature spinach all the time. I’ll saute a huge bag of Kale in a bit of olive oil and garlic — season it to taste — and then let it cool. Adding this to a plain old iceberg salad bumps up the nutrition AND mixes textures/flavors!
2. Free Add ins!
With all raw veggies free on Weight watchers — and with so many green containers needing used up on 21 day fix — this is a necessity for me!
And I can’t stress this enough — BE ADVENTUROUS! Veggies are good for you & so is variety! Mix it up to escape salad boredom! Try Jicama! Try shredded beats! Try sugar snap peas!
Pro-tip: Change the way you slice/chop! Always use shredded carrots? Try thin coin slices. Always use circles of cucumber? Try matchsticks! Ignore Celery? Shred & enjoy the crunch! (In the pic below I sliced a stalk of celery super thin and on an angle — so good and easy to munch on!)
Don’t just stop at veggies — you can bump up the flavor profile by adding fruits & berries. I’ll add pineapple anyday!
This, to me, is most important in order to feel full and actually nourished by your bunny food. The search for protein doesn’t have to be a daunting task or an expensive one. Adding chopping hard boiled eggs, lunch meat, or crispy cooked turkey bacon is simple and budget friendly.
I’ll also reach for canned/pouched tuna, canned beans, or tofu (if I’m feeling a vegetarian vibe).
If I’m really in a pinch, I’ll even mix up a greek yogurt based dressing (that’s similar to ranch) and use this to sneak in protein! This works wonders on the hubster (who like things more simple) as he doesn’t even realize he’s getting a great lean source of protein with his leafy greens!
Pro-Tip: Use up leftovers & make prep a breeze by reaching for last night’s protein source! Pot roast – yes! Salmon – yes! Shrimp – Yes! Taco meat – YES!!
4. Nuts & Seeds
I love a mix of texture in my salad! (Have I mentioned this yet?) Nuts & seeds add this and are a great substitution for those store bought croutons that’ll do nothing for you nutritionally.
Pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, almonds, walnuts, and pistachios are my current “go to’s” that I keep in my pantry at all times.
Pro-Tip: Mix up your nuts and seeds!! Use chia seeds with slivered almonds one day and then chopped walnuts and whole sunflower seeds the next!
5. Dress for Success!
The dressing is where a lot of people get into trouble. I tend to avoid anything store bought — unless I’m really really desperate. The good news is that if you have a well mixed and Tricked Out salad, the flavors might not need a dressing to bring them together!! If you’re a ride or die dressing user, then using vinegar or citrus juice is a “free” way to feed that urge.
Sometimes, I’ll squeeze some lemon over my mix of choice and then sprinkle on some fresh ground black pepper — it’s all I need! Other times, I’ll use salsa & a squirt of lime as my dressing and skip anything else!
Pro-Tip: Mix up your own dressing in a mason jar! Try this: A tablespoon each of olive oil, vinegar (apple cider, red wine, or balsamic), and dijon mustard. Season with salt/pepper to taste. Bonus: You can make a batch in advance and keep it in the fridge!
*Next level goodness*
If you have the spare calories/points/containers, I would recommend avocado on pretty much any salad. It’s SOO good — you can slice it, cube it, or mix it up & make a guac. It’s NEXT LEVEL stuff and turns my salad into a total treat instead of a chore!