When I was growing up I was not a huge fan of salads. I remember boring salads with iceberg lettuce and a few chopped carrots…I’d drown them in shredded cheddar cheese and ranch dressing and choke them down as fast as I could so I could get to the good part of dinner. These days I eat at least 1-2 salads a day and I can tell you that there isn’t a leaf of iceberg to be seen! Here are 4 ways to take your salads from boring to mind-blowing!
Change the Base
While iceberg lettuce seems to be a popular salad base it’s really no way to treat your tastebuds! Choosing salad greens with higher nutrient levels and more taste is the first step to adding interest to your salads. I usually use baby spinach or a spring mix but I’ve been on a kale kick since trying Panera Bread’s new Power Kale Caesar Salad with Chicken recently!
Adding a bit of fruit to your salad is a fast way to satisfy a sweet craving! During the summer months I love fresh blueberries or strawberries on my salads with a sprinkling of chopped pecans or walnuts. During the winter, apples and pears are a staple addition. I shared this Strawberry Poppyseed & Chicken Salad a few weeks ago in this post on Baby Steps to Start Eating Clean-it’s amazing with the juicy strawberries and mandarin oranges!
Just because it’s a salad doesn’t mean you’re limited to standard salad bar type toppings. Panera’s Mediterranean Chicken & Quinoa Salad boasts salad standards like cucumbers and toasted almonds but also jazzes things up with tomato sofrito and organic quinoa! Adding unique toppings to your salads reduces boredom and keeps you eating healthy! Other toppings to try: corn, couscous, shellfish, avocado, hummus, salsa-the sky is really the limit here!
Make it a Meal
Salads aren’t just a warm up for the main course-make them a meal by adding healthy protein and filling toppings. Think of a chef salad full of your favorite veggies, chopped meat, hard boiled eggs, and cheese. Add grilled chicken, salmon, or steak strips to your favorite salad combination. This is a great way to stretch your grocery budget as well-you can use leftovers to top a dinner salad the next day!
Take a cue from your favorite restaurants for ideas to add interest to your salads…my favorite salad source is Panera in no small part because of their commitment to clean food. They have removed artificial colors, sweeteners, flavors and preservatives from their salad dressings and have committed to removing them from all food menu items in US bakery-cafes by the end of 2016.
Panera Bread. Food as it should be.
Panera strives to make good food. Not only food you crave, but food that’s good for you. Food that will make the rest of you feel as good as your taste buds. It comes from a good place, and is made with seasonal, clean ingredients. Panera wants their guests to revel in the joy of good eating and to share the experience of good food.