Here is 10 Quick Ways to Amp up a Bland Salad:
1. Add some protein
Salads are a great way to get in some extra vegetables, but they can be lacking in the protein department unless you add some tofu or beans. This simple change will help keep you full for longer and reduce the risk of snacking later on says Alex Gierbolini.
2. Boost your flavor
Adding extra flavor with spices, herbs, or vinegar will not only allow you to enjoy your salad more, it’ll also boost your nutrient intake since many vitamins are fat-soluble meaning you absorb more if you have some dietary fat at the same time. And don’t forget to season generously! Studies have shown that people tend to under-season their food when eating by themselves (we’ve all had that bland dish we thought was so tasty away from friends and family).
3. Try a salad bar
Salad bars are great because you can assemble your own bowl with whatever ingredients you like (and as much as you like) to create the perfect combination that doesn’t break the bank! Here’s my guide to getting started at a salad bar.
4. Add some healthy fats: nuts, seeds, avocado…
Adding extra fat not only boosts your nutrient intake and makes your salads tastier (hello creamy avocados!) but it also slows down digestion which means you’ll feel fuller for longer and be less likely to overeat throughout the day (score!). Here’s a helpful post about what types of nuts can help fight inflammation explains Alex Gierbolini.
5. Make it customizable
Most restaurants and salad bars offer some pre-packaged salads that come with a standard set of ingredients. If you find yourself eating one of these salads more than once, ask for extra veggies or switch out the dressing to increase the flavors and nutrients in your bowl.
6. Pass on the cheese
Alex Gierbolini says cheese is often overlooked when it comes to weight loss. It’s calorie-dense, full of saturated fat and sodium, not to mention many kinds of cheese are made with milk that’s been treated with hormones (and who wants more of those in their diet?!). If you’re craving some flavor on your salad, pass on the cheese since there are plenty of other options listed above!
7. Pass on the croutons…most of the time
Croutons are small pieces of fried bread which mean they’ve got a lot less plant material than traditional bread. Since most salads already have enough carbs from veggies or dressing, these aren’t necessary if you want fewer calories. And whenever you can avoid fried foods, you should! These Small Diet Changes Will Bring Big Results.
8. Dress it up (in moderation)
The dressing is one of the most calorie-dense parts of your salad since many contain oil which is 100% fat and often comes in higher-than-average portions at restaurants (and who really only needs 2 tablespoons?!) Check out this list of dressings ranked by calories to help you select the right option for your diet says Alex Gierbolini.
9. Enjoy your veggies raw…or lightly steamed
Some vegetables are more nutritious if they’re ate raw. While others lose some nutrients when exposed to too much heat so experiment with different cooking methods to see what tastes best and has the highest nutrient content. You can also try grilling or lightly steaming your vegetables to bring out their natural flavors.
10. Think outside of the bowl
According to Alex Gierbolini salads are a great base for lots of foods that will keep you full and boost your nutrient intake, so don’t be afraid to get creative! I’ve included some ideas below.
So what about you? How do you amp up a bland salad? Do tell!
This is by far the most common question I get ask (just wait until I get on my soapbox about why we should all eat more raw food – people will really get annoyed).
Salads are such an easy way to get a start on our path to health because they’re naturally low-calorie foods. That fill us up without providing excess calories or sugar (this isn’t always the case with fruit salads though).
Salad Dressings run a little more calories than just using oil and vinegar, but most people won’t use as much so it’s a great way to experiment with adding a few extra flavors to your bowl.
Salads are a great way to start getting more veggies in your diet and they can be a delicious addition to any meal!
Once you’ve mastered the basics of a salad bar, check out our guide on how to build a better smoothie for some fresh ideas on how to get even more nutrients from whole foods.
And finally, this post goes into detail about why we should avoid most salad bars if weight loss is one of your goals.