I love salad bars because they help to make healthy eating easy especially when I’m on the go. As nice as they are, salad bars can also be quite expensive and they require having to travel to a store or restaurant to visit one.
Today an idea came to me: why don’t I try and make my own salad bar at home?
I eat a lot of salads and making them at home I can benefit from the variety available at many salad bars while keeping my costs down. Packing the salad in a to-go container makes them easily transportable to work, the park, or other places.
The key to a home “salad bar” is preparing in advance! Set aside 30 minutes to an hour to do all your washing and chopping and you’ll be set for a few days or a week. This ends up being a great time saver and stress reliever because all the hard work is done and you can easily put a salad together in just a few minutes.
The basic how-to for a home salad bar is very simple:
- First, decide how many salads you want to eat for the week (or half a week). I usually eat 4-5.
- Purchase and/or prepare your lettuce and toppings and place them into individual containers and refrigerate for up to one week. Please note: it’s best to not keep animal protein around for more than 3 days, but vegetables can keep longer.
- Chop vegetables and fruit such as red pepper, carrots, broccoli, cucumber, pineapple, apples, cauliflower, etc. into bite size pieces. Note: chopped tomatoes don’t always keep very well for me so I prefer to use cherry tomatoes.
- Adding a protein(s) helps to keep me filled up for longer. I like to add beans, sliced chicken, baked tofu, tuna fish, or sliced eggs. But grilled beef, cold cuts, salmon, or salami are also good choices.
- Special add-ins, in small amounts, can give a salad extra sparkle such as bacon, olives, marinated artichoke hearts, blue cheese, dried cranberries, raisins, Parmesan cheese and more.
- For dressings I often use a very small plastic container or ziploc bag and put it in with the salad if I’m taking it on the road with me. Otherwise if I’m eating at home I just lightly pour the dressing right on. My favorite dressings are: balsamic vinaigrette, Italian, oil and vinegar, or Thousand Island.
A couple of pictures are always helpful 🙂
My lunch today! My first salad bar style lunch at home. I included: romaine lettuce, cucumbers, garbanzo beans, tomatoes, corn and carrots.
All the veggies ready to go for the rest of the week 🙂
Cooking up some hard boiled eggs ,which I’ll be able to use in salads and also for snacks.
If you enjoy salads or are looking for healthy eating ideas I hope you found this article helpful!