Sure, veggies can be fun to eat, I guess, but if you wake up every day excited about the salad you are going to enjoy for lunch, it’s time you changed your coffee routine.
Little in life is less exciting than a salad; even the best ones. We eat salads for many reasons; self-righteousness, guilt, habit, but never anticipation. In truth, salads can get a little boring. A good way to combat this is by mixing it up a little.
If you’re following the one-salad-a-day rule, then good for you, but you may be bored. It’s time to try some salad modifications. Here are four approaches to something different.
Change your roughage, you ruffian.
If you eat one more salad made with iceberg, romaine or butter lettuce, you’re gonna lose it. Your grocer is likely overflowing with green options, like cabbage, spinach or more boutique lettuces.
You can even try exotic greens like dandelion. Just consider how bitter you want your salad. Greens like dandelion and arugula can make your salad more bitter than savory.
Never go full exotic. Ease into new things by mixing them in slowly. If you like something you’ve tried, add more next time.
You can also break away from traditional leaves, by building your salad on broccoli, cucumber or zucchini. They deliver more fiber than most lettuces anyway. Nobody ever said every salad has to be built on green and leafy bits.
Cold Chicken Breast Again?
Chickpeas or other legumes make a great way to break up the routine of chicken breast. Don’t wade all the way into legumes if you’re not used to beans. For everyone’s safety, ease in. The body tends to produce more air when new proteins are introduced.
Eggs make a nice addition to chicken but go with any meat. You can slice hard boiled eggs, for something pretty, or just fry em up and dump them on top.
Anything warm, like eggs, or your boring chicken heated up a little, can make for an interesting food layer on an otherwise cold dish.
If you’re feeling really bold, cook up some bacon, then chop it into your salad. Just, if you’re eating salads to lower your calorie intake, bear in mind that bacon is nutrient dense. A little goes a long way, even though a lot is really awesome.
Savory, let me introduce sweetness.
If your salad turned out a little too bitter, as an easy fix is to throw on something sweet.
Sweetness is the big hole in most homemade salads. Somehow we all got stuck on bitter salads bordering on savory, forgetting that salads can totally be sweet as well.
Raisins or Cranberry raisins are an easy sweetener. They both pack some fiber. If you want more fiber, go prunes. Cubes of apple or slices of citrus can also add some lovely sweetness, packing moisture, vitamins and fiber as well.
Been there, done that? Go more exotic by adding pomegranate bits, pineapple or chunks of mango.
Lose no sleep over sweetening up your salads with fruit. Your body will love the vitamins, but your mouth will love the change.
Break up the texture monopoly.
Too many salads are just chopped veggies. It’s like eating wood. They need something other than pulp and fiber.
You could go crouton, but those are pretty boring too. An alternative that’s more interesting is to crumble up some corn tortilla chips.
Have some leftover rice from that Chinese place down the street? Fry it in some oil to crisp it up, then throw the warm crispy rice on your salad. Double-whammy for texture and temperature.
Don’t stop there. Dice in a little avocado to offset your crunchiness with smooth. Your mouth will appreciate the variety.
Again, if you’re eating salads to lose weight, keep in mind that a little avocado goes a long way. They pack some great nutrients, but they pack em tightly. Also, frying up rice will tack on calories fast, depending on how much oil and rice you use. Be smart about your modifications.
We keep coming back to the awareness piece, as not all salads are created equal. Most will pack a ton of good-for-you nutrients, which is why the one-a-day is a rule of thumb, but calories count, like it or not.
Many restaurant salads, especially if they add the dressing, are so full of nutrients they outweigh the same restaurant’s six-dollar burger option for calories. Don’t assume that salad means mindless eating. Order your dressing on the side when out, but consider your goals when building at home.