3 Easy Steps to Fresh Gourmet Salads Every Day

Do you scramble each morning to bring a decent lunch to work? Make it easy on yourself by creating a nutritious gourmet salad bar at home. The prep work is your key to success — just follow these steps from Mark Hyman, MD:

vegetable salad

1. Get ready!

Reserve one place in your fridge for chopped veggies and herbs, and one shelf in your cupboard for protein, nuts and seeds. Then gather and prep these ingredients:

  • Greens: Stock your fridge with a small variety of fresh greens: arugula, spinach, romaine, watercress, kale, mixed baby greens. (Skip the iceberg lettuce; it’s barely green and has few nutrients.)
  • Chopped veggies: Cut washed, raw veggies, or steamed or roasted leftover veggies into salad-size bits. Store in sealed glass containers in your fridge.
  • Herbs: Chop and refrigerate fresh herbs (or choose dried): parsley, basil, oregano, dill, cilantro, mint.
  • Protein: Stock the pantry and fridge with a variety of proteins: canned salmon, sardines, roast chicken or turkey, tofu, hard-boiled eggs, cooked shrimp.
  • Healthy fats: Keep an avocado and Kalamata olives on hand. Store toasted or raw nuts in sealed glass jars (they’ll stay fresh for weeks at room temperature).
  • Dressing: Mix a healthy oil (extra-virgin olive, flaxseed, walnut or avocado) with fresh lemon or lime juice, vinegar or both. Use a ratio of 2/3 oil to 1/3 citrus or vinegar. Whisk in Dijon mustard or seasonings. For a creamy dressing, add avocado or tahini.

2. Get set!

Make a salad each night so you can grab it from the fridge the next morning. Keep your palate happy by choosing different options. Combine the following: 

  • Greens: 2 cups (mix and match)
  • Veggies: 2 or more cups
  • Herbs: ¼ cup fresh or 1 teaspoon dried
  • Protein: 3 to 6 ounces
  • Healthy fat: ¼-½ avocado, or 1/4 cup nuts, seeds or Kalamata olives

3. Keep it going!

So your first salad tasted great and was a cinch to make — you’re on a roll! Use these tips to maintain your gourmet salad bar: 

  • Store enough veggies for 2 to 3 days, replenishing as needed for freshness.
  • Change up your veggies, proteins and healthy fats at least twice a week for variety.
  • Store dressing separately at work or at home. (You’ll only need 1-2 tablespoons per salad.)
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