3 Easy Steps to Fresh Gourmet Salads Every Day

Create your own salad bar at home

Do you scramble each morning to bring a decent lunch to work? Make it easy on yourself by creating a nutritious gourmet salad bar at home. The prep work is your key to success — just follow these steps from Mark Hyman, MD:

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1. Get ready!

Reserve one place in your fridge for chopped veggies and herbs, and one shelf in your cupboard for protein, nuts and seeds. Then gather and prep these ingredients:

  • Greens: Stock your fridge with a small variety of fresh greens: arugula, spinach, romaine, watercress, kale, mixed baby greens. (Skip the iceberg lettuce; it’s barely green and has few nutrients.)
  • Chopped veggies: Cut washed, raw veggies, or steamed or roasted leftover veggies into salad-size bits. Store in sealed glass containers in your fridge.
  • Herbs: Chop and refrigerate fresh herbs (or choose dried): parsley, basil, oregano, dill, cilantro, mint.
  • Protein: Stock the pantry and fridge with a variety of proteins: canned salmon, sardines, roast chicken or turkey, tofu, hard-boiled eggs, cooked shrimp.
  • Healthy fatsKeep an avocado and Kalamata olives on hand. Store toasted or raw nuts in sealed glass jars (they’ll stay fresh for weeks at room temperature).
  • Dressing: Mix a healthy oil (extra-virgin olive, flaxseed, walnut or avocado) with fresh lemon or lime juice, vinegar or both. Use a ratio of 2/3 oil to 1/3 citrus or vinegar. Whisk in Dijon mustard or seasonings. For a creamy dressing, add avocado or tahini.

2. Get set!

Make a salad each night so you can grab it from the fridge the next morning. Keep your palate happy by choosing different options. Combine the following: 

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  • Greens: 2 cups (mix and match)
  • Veggies: 2 or more cups
  • Herbs: ¼ cup fresh or 1 teaspoon dried
  • Protein: 3 to 6 ounces
  • Healthy fat: ¼-½ avocado, or 1/4 cup nuts, seeds or Kalamata olives

3. Keep it going!

So your first salad tasted great and was a cinch to make — you’re on a roll! Use these tips to maintain your gourmet salad bar: 

  • Store enough veggies for 2 to 3 days, replenishing as needed for freshness.
  • Change up your veggies, proteins and healthy fats at least twice a week for variety.
  • Store dressing separately at work or at home. (You’ll only need 1-2 tablespoons per salad.)

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Mark Hyman, MD

Mark Hyman, MD, is Director for the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine, Chairman of the Institute for Functional Medicine and founder of The UltraWellness Center.
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