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:
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.)