Home | how to build a meal worthy salad in 5 simple steps

how to build a meal worthy salad in 5 simple steps

by Heather

You guys, I have been salad obsessed.  O.B.S.E.S.S.E.D.

build a meal worthy salad

I love food, and I love eating, but I’ll admit some foods make me feel better than others.  Salads make me feel especially good, but don’t always leave me feeling full and satisfied.  I need a meal with some oomph to them, and these meal worthy salads sure do the trick!

For over a month now I’ve been eating filling, delicious and energizing salads for lunch.  I eat them for probably 80% of my lunches.  Those days that I don’t have my big salad, and I choose leftovers because I’m hurried and need to eat, I am left feeling tired right after.  There is something about fresh greens that energizes me.

build a meal worthy salad


I’m hooked on them in the best kinda way.  I hope you can be too!  Here is how I like to build my meal worthy salads so that I’m not bored, they taste great and I get a variety of foods throughout the week.

STEP 1 // Build your base

This is where you choose your greens to create the base for your salad.

Ideas: romaine lettuce, spring greens, kale, arugula, spinach, cabbage or any combination of lettuces

STEP 2 // Add your protein

Typically I use leftover meat from dinners here to keep it simple.

Ideas: chicken, steak strips, taco meat, burger patty, turkey meatballs, shredded bbq pork, roasted salmon, lunch meat, chicken sausage, salami, tuna, sardines, hard boiled eggs, beans and tofu

STEP 3 // Increase the carbs

A salad that is just vegetables and protein won’t hold me over.  I need a good mix of carbs, protein and fat.

Ideas: roasted sweet potato cubes (my fav!), roasted potatoes, cooked corn off the cob, cut and crisped corn tortilla strips, apple or pear, roasted butternut squash

STEP 4 // Make it interesting

This is where you can throw in whatever vegetables you have on hand – freshly cut or leftover roasted veggies work great.  I also like to add nuts, seeds or avocado here too.  Offer your salad some extra textures and crunch that may be missing.

Ideas: cucumber, tomato, broccoli, avocado, bell peppers, mushrooms, cheese, nuts and seeds, dried fruits, bacon

Step 5 // Dress it up nicely

Dressings and sauces make food so much more interesting.  Prep one or two dressings ahead of time and you’ll save time on this step to finish your salad game strong!

Ideas: kefir ranch (we cannot get enough of this), honey poppyseed dressing, lemon vinaigrette, oil and vinegar/lemon juice, a mix of kerif ranch + sweet onion salsa, a mix of kerif ranch + peanut sauce, a mix of kerif ranch + bbq sauce, caesar dressing

build a meal worthy salad

I hope this leaves you inspired to create interesting and delicious meal worthy salad creations!  See more of my salads on instagram as I keep sharing them, and tag me (@fitmamarealfood) if you create your own meal worthy salad.  I’d love to see it and be inspired!

Tell me, how would you build your ideal meal worthy salad in 5 steps? I’ll go first: mixed greens, roasted salmon, roasted sweet potatoes cubes, cucumber, kefir ranch mixed with bbq sauce

And that is how you win the salad game.


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GiGi November 1, 2016 - 6:04 am

My salads are typically 90% toppings, ha ah ha! Although, THIS GIRL does love her spinach!

Heather November 1, 2016 - 6:42 am

Toppings are where it’s at!


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