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We hit Ruby Tuesday’s, ask for a table for 4 and the waitress asks, “You ready to order?”

“Yep, we all want the salad bar.”

The choices look incredible as our eyes widen with glee thinking we just scored big time with the salad jackpot!  Ding, ding, potato salad, broccoli salad, bacon bits, the whole 9 yards, bam!  Let’s chow.

You know where I’m going with this…..if you’ve been to Ruby’s back in the 8th grade like myself, you know darn well the salad bar is nothing short of high fat and high calorie goodness.

Fast forward another 25 + years and I have to say, my salads are pretty damn good.  I work hard on these guys and I’ve learned some pretty insightful and creative ways to add some variety, nutrients and flavor without all the added fat and calories.

Hey, random, remember those salad shakers from McDonalds, I don’t know, 10 or so years ago?  I just remember they had them in the Olympics back in 96.  The ham was cubed, hard and tough to eat, that I do know for certain.  Anyways, those turds over at corporate tricked us into thinking those things were good for us!  You kidding me?  Those bad boys were loaded with fat and calories and was one of the highest fat meals on the menu.  I know right?

salad shakers

Alright, step aside salad shakers, there’s a new sheriff in town...insert my EPIC salad method.  So, on a side note, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to make a salad, but it does take some trial and error because without the added goodies we’re gonna be hungry.  Like 10 minutes ago.

Here we go:

HERE’S HOW TO BUILD AN EPIC SALAD my friends:

  1.  Start with a PRIMER.  Whether that be spinach, romaine, mixed greens or dirt, let that be the base of your EPICNESS.
  2. Add some protein.  Vegetarian?  No prob.  Tofu, beans, legumes any of that will work just fine.  If you’re a carnivore like myself aim for some grass fed beef/bison, free range chicken or eggs or some wild salmon or wild tuna.  I’ll throw a can on top of the greens vs. cooking a full on piece of meat at lunch.  Done.
  3. Add more veggies.  Color of the rainbow my friends.  The more color the better.  Purple cabbage, red bell peppers, green apple, blueberries, you name it throw it on there for added fiber and nutrients.
  4. Fat.  No, not tons of Ranch dressing, you just killed your salad right there.  If you want a TSBP of it, so be it, but don’t douse the healthy concoction and lose all the benefits.  Aim for healthier types.  Seeds, nuts, olive oil dressing, avocado, etc.  Make sure to watch your portions on these as they are higher in calories and can add up pretty quickly.  My suggestion?  Pick 2 of them.
  5. Quality starch: (this can be optional) depending on your activity level and hunger.  Typically, if I add a starch I’ll add some cubed sweet potatoes, quinoa or gluten free crackers to my combo.

salad

(Here’s one I made the other day.  Spinach, chicken, raspberries, celery, seeds, avocado, sweet potato and quinoa.)

**One key note:  You don’t have to always have salad dressing.  So many of them are full of unnatural ingredients, soybean or vegetable oils, sugar and sodium.  Keep it simple and if you do need salad dressing, use it as one of your fats and go for plain ol’ oil and vinegar.  Another good option?  Add some dijon mustard or salsa on top for some liquid.

Want more?  Today is the start of my #17daysofsalads IG challenge.  For 17 days I’m posting every single salad I make and I want you to participate!  Best part?  Free prizes!  Hop on over to my IG page HERE and join in on the fun!