Make Ahead Salads for Easy Healthy Eating
Updated: Apr 30
Leafy greens and vegetables are key to longevity and weight loss. Is it hard for you to get enough leafy greens? If you are like me, you just don't always have time for food prep. I have the perfect solution - prep ahead!
My Make Ahead Salad method will ensure you get enough greens every week with ease.
You need the bulk from the veggies to prevent constipation, regulate blood sugar, make you feel full, and maintain digestive health.
All of the phytonutrients in the greens are powerful anti-oxidants to help prevent cancer and other chronic diseases. Read more about the benefits of colorful vegetables at my blog on More Color Equals More Health and Happiness:
Many of my clients struggle with getting in enough vegetables, especially leafy greens. You are not alone. They want to eat more vegetables but don’t know how to incorporate over 5 servings of vegetables a day into their diets. My clients are busy running from work to activities and need quick foods which are ready to go. They often don’t have time to prepare foods ahead and need help with finding easy ways to incorporate more vegetables.
You can do this even if you are crazy busy. Preparation is the key.
I like to eat a big salad at lunch with some protein on top. Many people like this idea but they find it difficult to do with a busy schedule. They aren’t home at lunchtime. Even if they are home, they don’t have time to prepare the salad as it takes too much time to do all of the dicing and chopping.
If you get bored with eating salad and don’t know what to do for dressing, I have the solution.
I have a plan for a make ahead salad which can help to make salad an easy grab and go option, eliminate the salad boredom, and make you crave salad. My salad prep plan makes sure a fresh and fun salad is always ready with minimal preparation.
Here is the Make Ahead Salad Plan:
I make a huge bowl of salad at beginning of the week so it always ready for me to pack for lunch or grab for a quick and easy dinner. This is my “starter” salad. In this big bowl of “starter” salad I put the greens and any harder vegetables which will last 5-7 days. Then as I make the salads to eat during the week, to each portion I add in the softer vegetables, which spoil faster.
Here is how to get started. Below is some inspiration for nutrient dense foods to include in your “starter” salad and more perishable items to add in when you are plating your salad.
Initial "starter" salad (make a HUGE bowl):
Greens – the darker the better, examples: spinach, arugula, romaine, mesclun mix, vary your selection week to week
Add Ins (add to your plated salad portion):
Hard boiled eggs
Shredded fresh herbs
Guacamole – make your own! – Mash up 1 avocado, add in juice of a lemon, salt and pepper and fresh cilantro to taste. Chop up fresh tomato and make a ring of fresh tomato around guacamole for an extra special presentation.
This is just a start of ideas for the starter salad and add ins. You can get creative and try all sorts of new ingredients. Make it fun. If you would like further inspiration and want to get fancy, try my favorite salad cookbook, Salad Samurai by Terry Hope Romero.
Dressing the salad is left for when you are ready to eat. You don’t want to put any dressing on your “starter” salad because it will spoil. You also want to change your dressing from salad to salad so you don’t get bored. Each plated salad should be different, fresh and delicious.
When it comes to quick dressing options, it can be as easy as keeping a bottle of balsamic vinegar in your desk drawer and just sprinkling it on at lunchtime with a little salt and pepper. This is especially yummy with a little hummus on the salad as the vinegar and hummus mix together as you eat and form a tangy creamy dressing.
If you are going to purchase dressing, it is important to read bottles and buy dressings with high quality oils (like olive or avocado) and no added sugar. Instead of purchasing dressing, you can make your own dressing easily. Here is one of my favorite recipes and a plan for how to create your own unique dressing.
Deb’s Ginger Soy Salad Dressing
3 TBS fresh minced ginger
1 large clove of garlic minced
3 TBS soy sauce
3TBS sesame oil
3 TBS orange juice
2 TBS honey
3 TBS sesame seeds
4 TBS water
1 fresh squeezed lemon
Mix all together. Serving size 2 TBS.
How to Create Your Own Salad Dressing Recipe
You can have fun creating your own salad dressing recipe from ingredients you have on hand. You just pick an item from each of the categories below and mix together. You combine an oil, an acid and then add in flavor. This is so much better than purchased salad dressing because you control the quality of the ingredients.
Start with ½ a cup of oil; choose from
• Olive Oil
• Sesame Oil
• Avocado Oil
• Grapeseed Oil
• Flaxseed Oil
• Walnut Oil
• Pumpkin Seed Oil
Stir in ¼ cup acid (juice or vinegar); choose from
• Lemon Juice
• Balsamic Vinegar
• Champagne Vinegar
• Orange Juice
• Rice Wine Vinegar
• Red Wine Vinegar
• Lime Juice
Have fun and spice it up with flavor!
• Fresh Herbs
Sources: http://www.ebfarm.com/organic-bound/salad-dressing-101 and Maryland University of Integrative Health Cooking Lab
If you want to see how I prepare my Make Ahead Salads and an example week of salads, check out my YouTube video showing you how to do it step by step.
Once you get into the habit of preparing your big “starter” bowl of salad at the beginning of the week, you will find it easy to get enough greens in your diet. All of the fresh vegetables have active enzymes which will make you feel more energetic and you will have more time for fun activities because your food prep will be so easy.
My clients who have adapted this salad plan tell me they are now “craving salads”. Try out this salad plan and you may also find yourself craving vegetables, feeling more energetic, and having fun with creating inspiring salads.
If would love to help you with your wellness goals, let's chat about what you need and how I can help. Set up a time for a discovery call so we can get to know eachother.