Tips to Boost Salad Nutrition

Making a salad
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Eating salads is a great way to curb your appetite and add nutrients to your diet. Keep your salad nutrition high by choosing smart ingredients that offer vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, protein, and healthy fats.

Load Up on Vegetables

At a salad bar, take a moment to look over the selection before you start preparing your plate so you don't make common salad mistakes. When you do begin assembling your salad, pile on a large amount of leafy greens right away. Try to take up about three-fourths of your plate with greens, which offer lots of nutrients and fiber.

Skip iceberg lettuce and go for darker greens, such as romaine lettuce, kale, or spinach, as they pack in more vitamins and minerals.

Once you've got your greens, add veggies to your salad to give it crunch and color. Some of the most nutritious foods at the salad bar are also the tastiest. These include:

  • Beets
  • Peppers
  • Red cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Beans
  • Sprouts
  • Onions
  • Peas

If you have never eaten fruit in your salads, try adding cranberries, tangerine sections, sliced strawberries, apple slices, or red grapes. They'll add sweetness and they'll boost your salad nutrition, too.

Add Nutritious Toppings

Boost nutrients (such as calcium, fiber, and healthy fats) and flavor in your salad with toppings such as:

  • Walnuts, pecans, and other nuts
  • Pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, and other seeds
  • Mushrooms
  • Marinated artichoke hearts
  • Avocado
  • Olives
  • Cheese

Shredded cheese is easier to disperse throughout your salad and as a result, you'll likely use less. Or try a stronger cheese, such as Parmesan or feta, since a small amount goes a long way.

Marinated beets, marinated mixed vegetables, tomato and cucumber salad, carrot and raisin salad, and three bean salad often contain olive oil. It helps your body absorb beta carotene from the vegetables you're also eating.

Pile on Protein

To make your salad feel more filling, it is important to add a metabolism-boosting protein source. Some good protein choices are:

Salmon provides omega-3 fatty acids, making it a great choice for improving heart health while adding a protein boost.

If you don't eat meat or seafood, remember that you can get protein from other salad bar foods such as:

Other non-meat foods, such as walnuts, almonds, and avocados, provide both protein and good fats, and help make your salad more filling.

Include a Delicious Dressing

Including fat in your salad, via ingredients or salad dressing, makes your meal more satisfying and helps boost nutrient absorption. A standard serving of salad dressing is 2 tablespoons. Try using citrus juice or vinegar as a base and combining with a heart-healthy oil, such as olive oil. Herbs, mustard, minced shallots, and onions will make your dressing extra flavorful.

A Word From Verywell

Make smart choices to boost your vegetable intake, get a boost of protein, and enjoy healthy fats when you build your salad. Eating a smartly prepared healthy salad can be a great investment in your long-term plan for health and wellness.

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