How to Build a Better Salad

Tired of restaurant salads always tasting better than homemade? Building better salads can sometimes feel daunting and out of reach.

Here’s why your salad is boring: You didn’t want to eat it so when you made it you were feeling bored and uninspired. You didn’t add any fun or unusual ingredients. You didn’t make it the way your favorite lunch spot makes it and…wait. Why is that? You SHOULD be making awesome salads just the way you like them!

Let’s take a look at how to accomplish that at home.

Salad Components for a Better Salad

Here are a few of my favorite ways to make a delicious and easy salad recipe (hold the boring)!


  • First, you need to chop your greens! Bunch up your greens and chop on a cutting board or just rip it up in your hands a bit for the quick fix. Doing this ensures equal portions of greens and toppings in each bite. Who wants to try to fold a giant piece of spinach into their mouth? Not you, and not me. Let’s make healthy eating easy by chopping it up!


  • Fruit or dried fruit adds something sweet and brings a variety of flavors into your salad.
  • Try: dried cranberries, blueberries, chopped apples, mandarin oranges, pineapple, or grapes.


  • Crunchy toppings contrast the soft greens and are so delicious!
  • Try: chopped nuts or almond slices, tortilla chip pieces, edamame, corn, roasted chickpeas, or seeds.


  • Adding a starchy item or a grain will increase satiety and make your salad feel more like a full meal and less like a snack.
  • Try: roasted butternut squash, quinoa, whole wheat rotini, or roasted sweet potatoes.


  • Pick a dressing you actually love and will be excited to eat!
  • If you love ranch and that’s the only way you’ll enjoy a salad my goodness just use the ranch! If you use a heavier dressing, just be aware of your portion size. That will be a calorie bomb to your day if you use too much.
  • A lighter option: olive oil + lemon juice.
  • Brand I Like: Primal Kitchen makes tasty dressings without a lot of extra ingredients. Here is the link to their balsamic!


  • Spread your dressing and toppings all around, baby!
  • To-go containers make tossing super simple – add dressing, put the lid on, and shake it!

Boring Salad: Romaine, chicken, red onion, cherry tomatoes, Italian dressing.

Better Better: Romaine, chicken, red onion, edamame, mandarin oranges, sesame dressing.

Let me know which toppings and tips you enjoy!

In Good Health,

Lindsey Hudsmith, RDN 

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