Salads make for an excellent workday lunch because they’re quick to prepare, endlessly versatile (so you never get bored) and they won’t weigh you down or send you into an afternoon slump. Chock full of fiber, vitamins and minerals, collard greens, swiss chard, spinach, mustard greens, rapini, cabbage, turnip greens, bok choy and watercress are also low in calories and high in cleansing fiber. Plus, the bulk they provide fills you up without packing on the pounds. These greens are amazing in and of themselves, but a few tricks can help to optimize their flavor and nutrition.
“Salads don’t have to be plain to be healthy,” says Rebecca Katz, co-author of “The Longevity Kitchen.” A trained chef with a Masters of Science in nutrition, Katz recommends spicing up your salad with green herbs like parsley, mint and cilantro because they have the added perk of being naturally detoxifying. “Plus, mint in a salad is a wake-up call for your taste buds,” she says. Here are a few of her other top tips:
Turn up the heat: Rev up your metabolism by adding something with heat to your salad like a little bit of jalapeño.
Get extra crunch (not calories): Replace croutons with toasted pepitas, sugar snap peas or fennel, which adds a refreshing licorice flavor.
Boost nutrition: Always include healthy fats, such as avocados, because it will make key phytonutrients in the vegetables more absorbable.
Tell us, what are your favorite ways to spice up a salad?
One of our editors swears by those mini jam bottles—you know, the ones you get from hotel room service—for transporting just enough salad dressing to work. This eliminates the need to dress your salad in the morning (basically guaranteeing soggy greens by lunchtime) or having to lug around a full bottle. There aren’t a lot of teensy, portable and leak-proof containers on the market, but these do the trick just fine! You can even purchase a single mini jar of jam on Amazon (shown below). When you’ve used it all up, just rinse and repurpose.