With January 1 right around the corner, we’re all going to be thinking about how to change our lives for the better in the new year – and, for many of us, this means cleaning up our eating and shrinking our waistlines.
Or, you know, dieting.
Yep, I said the d-word.
And salads are kind of a staple of a cleaned up diet, since they’re a reliable way to get some fresh veggies in your system.
Unfortunately, salads can get boring quickly, if you’re not careful, and before you know it you’ll be hating your life as you look sadly upon the pile of lettuce taunting you from your plate.
Been there, done that.
But there’s another way! You don’t have to hate your life to eat a salad everyday. Grab your favorite (big) bowl, and let me show you how!
Choose a lettuce mix you like and stick with it until you hate it. Love the box of romaine? Keep buying it! Spring mix makes you happy? Great! Just spinach? That works, too! Just be sure to choose lettuce that has some nutritional value – skip the iceburg.
Have toppings ready to go, and keep a variety around. Have tasty things like cheese and craisins and canned whole kernel corn and tinned mandarin orange slices hanging around, but don’t forget the crunchy stuff like croutons, sliced almonds, and tortilla strips!
Spend 1 day a week prepping salad toppings. Use whatever you like – don’t buy bell peppers if you hate bell peppers because you won’t like them in your salads, either. I usually keep grape or cherry tomatoes, halved, on hand to toss right in. You can chop some cucumbers, peppers, mushrooms – whatever works for you – and have them ready.
Don’t forget to be ready with proteins, too. A good salad has some protein in it to keep you full.
On the Note of Proteins…
Get creative! Have a variety of proteins around, like ground beef, shredded chicken, tinned tuna, black beans or garbanzo beans. Making sure you have some variety will help keep you from feeling like you’re in a salad rut.
Leftovers are great to use on your salads, too! Got leftover rotisserie chicken? Shred it. Leftover taco meat? Taco salad time!
Get Creative with Dressing
The sky is the limit with dressing! You don’t need to stick with your old standby (ranch, here, sooo much yummy ranch dressing!), be brave and try out some new dressings.
My two non-ranch dressing favorites are Annie’s Lite Raspberry vinaigrette and Annie’s Shiitake Sesame. I would highly recommend them to anyone!
Think outside the bottle here, too – things like hummus, tzatziki sauce, and salsa make fantastic dressings and really help liven up the salad thing. Salsa with ranch dressing on a bed of romaine with black beans, corn, and tomatoes is one of my very favorite combinations!
So, how do you take your salads? What’s your favorite non-traditional addition? Share here or join in on the conversation over on Facebook!