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We’ve all heard it, the familiar “eat more veggies” advice. It comes from relatives, doctors, and especially social media. But most of us have also heard the little voice in our head saying, “but I don’t like vegetables” or “I don’t know how to prepare vegetables so they taste good”. Many experts suggest we strive for 9 servings of fruits and veggies every day, or to be more “plant-based” in our eating, but some days we’re lucky to manage ONE vegetable all day. Or the vegetables we eat consist of the tomato and lettuce on a burger.  These helpful salad combinations will help you create delicious and satisfying bowls of YUM.

When done right, a salad can be a filling and creative way to get in your daily dose of nutrients. While skimpy salads can leave you craving sugar and salt afterwards, you can easily pack your salad bowl with seasonal, fresh ingredients that will boost your health and mood. Plus, adding high-quality fats like olive oil and avocado, along with proteins, grains and leafy greens, will balance blood sugar levels and keep you fuller, longer.

Fresh healthy salad with kale, almond, cranberry and quinoa

When you mix and match ingredients, you get maximum health benefits and a more creative meal. A salad can be more than just lettuce, tomatoes and chicken. Below I’ve listed some of my go-to salad ingredients. Pick your favorites and combine them, or try something new! There are so many different options to choose from.

Choose Your Own Salad Adventure

 Leafy Greens

  • Arugula (if you like spicier greens)
  • Spinach
  • Kale (massage this with some olive oil first, will help to break it down and make it easier to chew than raw)
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Boston Bibb lettuce


  • Bacon (nitrate free)
  • Chickpeas
  • Kidney beans
  • Grilled chicken
  • Baked Wild Salmon
  • Hardboiled eggs
  • Walnuts or Pepitas
  • Hemp seeds


  • Quinoa
  • Millet
  • Brown rice
  • Wild rice


  • Roasted root vegetables
  • Shredded carrots
  • Shredded raw beets or roasted beets
  • Grilled corn
  • Sliced or roasted red peppers
  • Tomatoes


  • Mangoes
  • Oranges
  • Strawberries
  • Apples
  • Grapes
  • Avocado


  • Fresh basil
  • Toasted almonds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Watercress or sprouts
  • Raisins


Pick out your favorites from above and combine them for a quick, filling meal. You really can’t go wrong! If you find yourself yawning in the afternoon after you had a salad for lunch, tweak the protein and fat content next time. It might be that you didn’t put enough of the foods that keep us full and provide energy. Add more olive oil or protein and see how you feel.

Quinoa Salad

Andrea’s Mediterranean Salad

Here are some of my salad recipes

These recipes would be great to eat alone, or on a bed of lettuce and shredded vegetables. They all get better the second day too, perfect as a snack or an easy make ahead lunch.

Black Bean Salad with Lime Vinaigrette

Garbanzo Bean Salad with Red Onions and Avocado

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad, just leave off the avocado until you are ready to eat so that it doesnt get brown, everything else you can make ahead!

The author of that avocado cilantro dressing above also has this delicious “Crunchy Detox Salad” recipe on her blog that is a little slice of crunchy vegetable heaven.

More Salad Recipes

Salad For Dinner Book Cover

If you want more help, this book from Jeanne Kelley “Salad for Dinner” will support you in making delicious and creative salads. I look through the pages whenever I am looking for inspiration. Check out the recipe on page 41 for “Roasted Acorn Squash and Brussels Sprout Salad (perfect for a winter meal), and page 171 for “Fig, Fennel and Barley Salad”. I just swap out barley for brown rice or quinoa.   She also has a book solely for vegetarians, “Vegetarian Salad for Dinner“, if you want more plant-based suggestions for your salad.

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