A salad bar in the fridge is probably one of my most favorite healthy eating cheats there is.
It may not be an earth-shattering concept, but I will say that it is hands down the easiest way to get salad in my face.
It’s also the only way The Hubster will even consider having salad.
Here’s why I love this concept so much:
- It’s a one and done kind of thing. You seriously only spend 15 minutes getting everything ready and then…when you want salad…it’s like BOOM. There’s salad on my plate.
- It allows for a fun mix-and-match game. You can load up your salad, or keep it simple. Either way, you have the opportunity for endless flavor combinations.
- It will make eating vegetables a no-brainer. Seriously, when it’s quick and easy, you are 100x more likely to do it.
- Even the most pressed for time people can’t argue with this one. I have so many clients tell me that it takes too much time to eat healthy. And to that, I saw pshaw.
My most recent salad escapades have included a mix of baby kale and romaine, chickpeas, dried cherries, and carrot shreds.
I am also a huge fan of roasted sweet potatoes and butternut squash mixed in for the fall.
Another fun opt-in that My Mama is keen on: apples. Which, by the way, are plentiful right now.
I often like to think that a salad is made up of a few parts:
This one is kind of a must, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a little fun with it. There are so many lettuce varieties out there. Play around and switch it up every now and again. Common salad greens: romaine, spinach, arugula, butter lettuce, baby kale, kale, and spring mix.
I’m of the opinion when it comes to veggies, the more the merrier. Some of my favorite veggies to chop up and add in are cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, and snap peas. I also like to add in roasted sweet potatoes and butternut squash in the fall. But you could pretty much do whatever tickles your fancy or shows up in your CSA box each week.
I know some people are weird about this one but if you think about it, tomatoes are a fruit. As are avocados. And both are common salad ingredients. Having said that, fresh or dried fruit will work, and add a kick of color and sweetness to any salad.
This could be anything from hard (or soft) boiled eggs, beans, legumes, quinoa, tofu, tempeh, or whatever animal protein tickles your fancy (steak, chicken, salmon, bacon, etc.).
The Nuts and Seeds
This is kind of a bonus category for me, much like fruit. But it does add a nice variety, loads of vitamins and minerals, and a good crunch to your salad. Again, play around and see what combinations you like best.
I feel like this is the most important part of the salad. Pretty much anything else can be forgiven in a salad if there is a good dressing. Conversely, if the dressing is crap, so is the salad. Choose wisely here, and consider what ingredients you are including and pair accordingly.
6 super simple steps to create your own salad bar in your refrigerator:
- Wash and cut your salad greens and put them in a large container.
If this step takes too much effort, or you seriously hate washing and prepping greens, why not grab a bag of spring mix or spinach? I mean, they seriously make it as easy as humanly possible nowadays. My current favorite is a blend of baby kale and romaine.
- Chop up your veggies.
Slice your tomatoes, peel and cut your cucumbers, chop those carrots, and julienne your snap peas and then place them into separate containers. You could probably combine veggies like snap peas and carrots (with your greens, no less), but would suggest leaving your cucumber and tomatoes separate. Otherwise, you may have a soggy salad after a day or two.
- Prep your beans, eggs, and other protein sources.
Cook your favorite dried beans or open up a can and rinse them off. Boil your eggs (and even peel them). Cook your chicken, steak, or fish and slice it up so it’s ready for a quick grab and go. This is also a great time to use up leftover chicken or steak. Store each in separate containers.
- Wash and cut or chop up your favorite fruits. This could be anything from strawberries, blueberries, apples, oranges, and pears to dried fruit like apricots, cherries, cranberries, or figs. If you’re an avocado fan, I would suggest leaving that one until day of.
- Chop your nuts and grab your seeds. Basically, just make sure these are readily accessible and front of mind so you can add them on a whim.
- Make your dressing. We always have about 3 different salad dressings—some homemade, others store bought—on hand to make sure everyone is happy. There is no right or wrong here, just have fun!
Once you have everything prepped and ready, all you have to do is mix and match ingredients and put it on a plate, in a tupperware, or in a jar.
And, there you have it. My favorite suggestion for getting more salads on the menu and in your face.
Since I’ve shared my favorite combinations, I want to know yours.
What’s your signature salad, or the one you order out most often?
Please share in the comments below.
Or, better yet, hit me up on Twitter. Here’s a sample tweet to get you started:
My favorite salad combination is _____________ (fill in the blank). @emilylevenson