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6 Steps to Make a Salad that Doesn’t Suck

People often ask me how I'm able to eat a salad as a meal and actually feel satisfied. Salads are a staple in my menu rotation and not because they are the poster-child of diet culture. I adore salads because they are incredibly easy to throw together, can be super tasty (when done right!), and the nutritional benefits are just an added bonus.

Think you can't make friends with salad? Pfft! Just wait till you create a salad with these 6 easy steps:

1. Start with greens

No surprises here! Greens are the foundation of any salad and my suggestion is to pick one that you actually like. If kale is too…"kale-y" for you, opt for something more subtle, like romaine lettuce or a spring mix.

Here are a few options to choose from:

  • Romaine lettuce

  • Iceberg lettuce

  • Spring mix

  • Spinach

  • Kale

  • Arugula

2. Add veggies and fruits

This step gives you the opportunity to add a variety of colour and micronutrients into your salad. "Rainbow" it up by choosing 3-5 options with different colours, textures, and flavours.

Fruits actually go GREAT in salads because they add a nice sweetness and contribute flavour contrast and diversity.

Of course, the list of veggies and fruits that could work in a salad is endless, but I'll just note down some common ones that should be accessible in most grocery stores:


  • Bell peppers

  • Carrots

  • Beets

  • Tomatoes

  • Cucumbers

  • Sprouts

  • Red onions

  • Green onions


  • Apples

  • Blueberries

  • Strawberries

  • Fresh figs

  • Dried fruit, like cranberries, dates, figs

  • Nectarines

  • Mandarin slices

3. Add protein

If the salad is meant to serve as a meal in and of itself, do NOT skip this step! Adding a protein will improve flavour as well as provide mental satisfaction and help you stay fuller for much, much longer.

Animal proteins

  • Chicken

  • Steak

  • Tuna

  • Eggs

  • Cheese

  • Shrimp

  • Turkey

Vegetarian proteins

  • Chickpeas

  • Tofu

  • Tempeh

  • Black beans

  • Quinoa

  • Lentils

4. Add a carb or starch

This step is also extremely important if you want to create a meal-grade salad that will be sure to impress.

Here are a few options to really boost the satisfaction factor of your salad:

  • Sweet potatoes

  • Rice

  • Quinoa

  • Potatoes

  • Bulgur

  • Couscous

  • Pasta

5. Add a crunch factor

This might be a matter of preference, but I really enjoy having a little crunch in my salads. Typically, this will come from a source of healthy fat, which will promote both physical satiety and mental satisfaction.

Healthy crunchy fats

  • Walnuts

  • Pumpkin seeds

  • Hemp hearts

  • Sunflower seeds

  • Flax seeds

  • Slivered almonds

  • Coconut flakes

  • Pecans

6. Don’t fear dressing

People overthink salad dressing. Diet culture vilifies it and tries to make it sound as though using a dressing will negate the health benefits of a salad. [Insert eye-roll]. That is absolutely bonkers! If using a dressing helps you get in more fibre-rich and nutrient-dense veggies, by all means, go for it!

Believe it or not, dressings can actually enhance the healthfulness of a salad. There are certain nutrients, namely vitamins A, D, E, and K, that are fat-soluble and so require fat for optimal absorption.

Dressings, like, vinaigrettes, use a base of oil and are therefore a great topping for salads. If you are wary of store-bought dressings, there is a cornucopia of recipes online. Simple vinaigrettes typically utilize an oil (like olive oil), a vinegar (like balsamic), Dijon mustard, a sweetener of choice (like honey or sugar), garlic, and salt and pepper.

Check out this post from Cookie+Kate for an easy recipe that you can make ahead and use throughout the week: basic vinaigrette recipe.


So there you have it! 6 easy steps to make a salad that you actually want to eat ;)

Stay nourished my friends,


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