A blog by runners. For runners.

Five tips for healthier summer salads


It’s currently 90 degrees outside. My apartment is a cool 82 with all the fans blowing and there is no way I’m turning on the stove or oven to make dinner tonight. That leaves just two options for dinner: order take out or make a big summer salad. To be fair, there are other options like cereal but no one needs a blog post on how to pour milk into a bowl.

Salads as a meal and not just a side dish can be a little tricky. If you don’t make them right they can be laden with fat and even then can leave you hungry an hour later. But that doesn’t need to be the case. Below our my quick tips on how to make healthier, more filling summer salads.

  1. Choose a lettuce you actually like to eat. I’ve tried to eat plenty of mixed greens salads, just to pick around the lettuce and eat everything else out. That’s when I realized I should stop using mixed greens and start using a lettuce I like. I know, it’s a simple concept but one that seems to have taken me a while to figure out. So, if you like iceberg lettuce use it, who cares if it isn’t as nutrient dense as romaine or spinach, it’s still a vegetable.
  2. Pick two fat add-ons. The best way to create a satiating salad is not skimping on the fats. If you’re just eating a salad for dinner, make sure it has enough calories to fill you up. My favorites go-to fats are nuts and avocados but seeds and cheeses are also great options. Nuts and seeds offer a lovely crunchy texture while avocados and cheeses can give your dressing more coverage. Just make sure not to go over board, a tablespoon or two is enough.
  3. Make your own salad dressing. Have you ever looked at the ingredients list for a store bought salad dressing? Why do we need MSG in our ranch? Instead, try making your own. A simple mixture of olive oil, vinegar, salt and lemon juice creates a tangy dressing in seconds. Try adding mustard, garlic, or cayenne if you’re in the mood for a little something extra.
  4. Mix up the vegetables (and try some fruits). No one wants to eat the same salad every day. I like to mix it up and keep my taste buds interested. Some days I use cucumbers and tomatoes, others carrots and celery, some days all of the above. And don’t be afraid of fruit. Adding sliced apples, pears, or even blueberries to your salads will give them a hint of sweetness that goes a long way.
  5. Add some protein. This is what will give your salad staying power. Try some marinated tofu, tempeh or beans if you’re a vegetarian; sliced chicken breast, turkey, or even shrimp if you aren’t.

Salads don’t have to be boring and they don’t have to accompany a larger meal. Follow these tips to create a summertime salad that will leave your belly happy and your house cool.

Written by Lisa Horvath.

Related recipes: