BYO Salad Bar at Home



By Grace Iberle, RDN, LDN, CHC, CPT 

With Spring comes the excitement of more fresh produce readily available! Tasty and juicy fruits and vegetables!

Do you ever love a fully stocked salad bar you can find in certain restaurants or cafeterias? One that has all of the perfect, delicious toppings? Trying to re-create that in the comfort of your own home can be disastrous, messy, and time consuming. Try a few of these easy tips and tricks to make building a super salad tasty and efficient! When it’s time to assemble, it’s as simple as throwing it all together.

Purchase prepared foods

They cost a little extra, but they are convenient and quick, which is often worth the little extra money if that means it’s easier for you. My favorite go-to includes matchstick carrots, cubed tofu, and sliced mushrooms. Keep an eye out for naturally easy prep foods, think grabbing berries you can toss in a salad versus a fruit you need to chop up.

Prep ahead of time

Grill or bake your proteins, chop and roast your vegetables, make a large container of salad dressing ahead of time. If every time you want to make a salad you have to pull out the cutting board, knives, etc the time can easily add up. Spend a little extra time prepping to save time each day during the week. I love to buy a head of red cabbage or broccoli and chop it up at the beginning of the week. It’s a quick, crunchy addition to my salads.

Items to Keep on Hand

Keeping a few items in your pantry for another easy addition. Nuts and seeds will add an extra crunch with a power punch of healthy fat and fiber. Canned vegetables and fruits are another easy addition. Be sure to check the ingredient list that you’re not getting extra added sugars, sodium, or fat.  My favorites include diced beets, corn, chick peas, and canned mandarin oranges.

Save on time and meal prep by assembling multiple salads at once. Put the juicier fruits and vegetables at the bottom, with the greens at the top to help stay fresh. Do not add the dressing until you’re ready to eat. Give these a try to recreate the tasty creations in the comfort of your own home.

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