The Salad Equation & DIY Dressing

December 8th, 2017

I’ve been called “The Lunch Lady”. 

…Because I really make lunch a priority. I see the lunchbreak as not only a time to nourish up, but also as valuable “downtime” for self-care that gives your brain a break from all the buzz. It’s key to feeling refreshed and ready tackle the second half of the day. Enjoying a balanced, nourishing lunch contributes to that feeling and everyday experience in a major way. 

Stellar salads can make easy lunching happen. 

…No, I’m not talking boring salads people think dietitians and other health nuts eat. I’m talking hearty salads that trigger at least 3 of the 5 basic tastes: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, umami (savory). Here are some ideas: 

  • Sweet: Berries, honey drizzle, dried fruit: cranberries, raisins, dried blueberries, orange slices
  • Sour: Lemon or lime spritz, grapefruit
  • Salty: Salted nuts, a pinch of salt in dressing, 
  • Bitter: Apple cider vinegar, white wine vinegar, or other vinegars in dressing
  • Umami: Meat or soy foods

The Balanced Salad Equation:
Greens Base + Protein  + Starch + Dressing

Literally layer these in a container (I like these glass ones) 
  • Greens base: Arugula, “mixed greens”, and romaine are my favorites.
  • Protein: Sliced chicken, hard boiled eggs, canned tuna/salmon/sardines, or steak. I leverage leftovers!
  • Starch: Quinoa, brown rice, and cubed squash work great with salads. I leverage leftovers here too! 
  • Flavor & Nutrition Boost: Sliced radishes, cucumbers, carrots, avocado. Diced peppers or jicama. Julienned beets or raw Brussel sprouts – the list goes on! Pretty much any and everything can be made into a salad in some way! 

Salad dressing is another ordeal! Since making my own dressing, I’ve never gone back to store bought! 

In terms of nutrition, the dressing can make or brake a salad.

If you’re going store bought, balsamic varieties are my favorite. If you’re not a balsamic fan, try vinaigrettes! Although higher in sugar, they are generally lower in fat and other food emulsifiers/stabilizers compared to creamy-style dressings, which are my least favorite choice in terms of nutrition. With all dressings, try to stick with the serving size of 1-2T! 

4oz Mason Jars rock for mixing salad dressings! I throw all the ingredients in it, shake it up before eating, and drizzle on – then spritz some lemon. 

EVOO + ACV Salad Dressing

Takes 2 minutes, makes 2  servings

3T Extra virgin olive oil
1.5T Apple Cider vinegar
Pinch of salt
Dab of honey

Add all ingredients to a non-reactive bowl, like stainless steel or glass. Whisk together well and drizzle over dish to serve.

** If you’re making dressing ahead of time, place all ingredients into container. Shake before serving (oil and vinegar will separate!)

Fun add ins: minced garlic or ginger, sliced green onions, dab mustard, dab soy sauce. Get creative! 

Show me your salads on IG! #noboringsalads #nutritionwithalicia

Alicia Slusarek

I'm Alicia, and I'm here to give you the inspo and info you need to get you to the next level when it comes to nutrition.