Crafting a Salad Starter Kit

It’s lunchtime. You’re hungry and you’re on-your-own to get something to eat. What are your choices? Even though all the ingredients are in the refrigerator is a salad something you’d make for yourself?

Here is an idea that may help you say "yes" more often to this question that I have been doing.  I make salad “starters”.

When I get all the stuff out to make a salad, I make a couple of extra salads. I put the basic parts…lettuce, maybe an egg, carrots, washed fruit, rinsed canned beans…in a nice single- serving salad bowls. I then cover with plastic wrap and put back into the refrigerator.

So then, when it’s time to eat I can grab this salad starter and add to it. What goes on top depends upon what meal it is and what else I’ve eaten during the day. Maybe I’ve eaten heavy earlier in the day and I’m looking for a simple side salad ….it’s ready to go.

When I want a bigger meal, I can easily add cooked meat (either freshly cooked or leftovers) or tuna from a can or more veggies. I like artichokes, roasted red peppers, nuts, ….anything goes to make it a bigger, better, and appealing salad.   This is also when I add those fresh items that just don’t keep well on a salad…. like sliced tomatoes, avocado, or a light dressing.

I usually only make three or four of these salad starters ahead because I want to be fresh. I aim to have just enough for a day or two. But I have noticed, that when we (I’m speaking for my husband here, too) really don’t want to take the time to make a salad, having a “salad starter” ready to go just makes that healthier choice easier.

By Cheryle Jones Syracuse, MS, Professor Emeritus, The Ohio State University

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