Deliciously Nutritious: 5 Simple Tips for Upping Your Salads


Nothing beats the crispness and freshness of a salad, and it’s a delightful way to get a head start on your five a day. The problem with most salads is they’re pretty boring: just lettuce and dressing with very little else in the mix. But it doesn’t have to be that way! Not only are there ways to make a salad tastier, but also more nutritious.

Include various vegetables

Keep things diverse with your veggie choices. The more vegetables you include in your salad, the more nutrients you’ll treat your body to. To add visual interest and nutritional punch to your dish, combine a multitude of colorful veggies in one salad bowl. The more diversity, the more nutritious your salad will be.

Tap into the synergy between veggies and fruits too. For example, when you add citrus fruit (orange slices are delightful in a salad), you’ll absorb more vitamin C from the leafy greens in your salad bowl. Adding a source of fat (like avocado) will boost the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, like vitamins A, D, E, and K. Also, choose contrasting flavors. How about pairing spicy arugula and sweet mangoes?

Add protein

Protein is a macronutrient your body needs for various functions, including muscle repair. The problem with most salads is they lack protein, but it doesn’t have to be that way.  If you’re looking for ways to add more protein to your salad without adding a lot of calories, use beans or chicken as a topping. Add the toppings right at the end, so the salad doesn’t get soggy. If you’re trying to cut back on meat and poultry, salmon, anchovies, and sardines offer long-chain omega-3s for anti-inflammatory benefits.

You can also add plant-based protein sources to your bowl of nutritious greens. Popular plant-based proteins to add to a salad include tempeh, tofu, nuts, seeds, and legumes. When combined with a variety of vegetables and a healthy dressing, plant-based proteins create a nutritious and flavorful salad.

Add anti-inflammatory components to your salad

Adding anti-inflammatory components to your salads is an easy way to increase the health benefits of your meals. Certain foods could help reduce inflammation and provide additional health benefits due to their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Incorporating ingredients such as olive oil, garlic, onion, and ginger will boost your salad’s flavor while providing anti-inflammatory benefits.

Don’t forget to add brightly colored fruits and vegetables, like blueberries and strawberries, for more antioxidants and nutrients. To boost the health benefits of your salad even more, add nuts and seeds, such as walnuts, almonds, and chia seeds. These crunchy foods contain healthy fats, fiber, protein, and other essential nutrients. Studies show nuts reduce inflammatory markers in the bloodstream. With a few simple steps, you can turn a regular salad into an anti-inflammatory powerhouse.

Add whole grains for fiber

Whole grains are an excellent source of essential vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber. Adding whole grains to salads is a fantastic way to increase the nutritional content and flavor of the dish. Some of the best whole grains to add to salads include quinoa, bulgur wheat, wild rice, farro, and freekeh.

Besides making your salads more nutritious, adding whole grains can be a fantastic way to get creative in the kitchen. Experiment with different combinations, textures, and flavors to make your salads unique and utterly enjoyable. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring, and adding flavorful whole grains to your salads is one way to take a salad to the next level.

You have lots of options. Quinoa is a high-protein grain full of essential amino acids and is a great alternative to traditional salad ingredients such as lettuce. Bulgur wheat is a quick-cooking whole grain with a nutty flavor and chewy texture. Wild rice is high in fiber and adds a great flavor to salads. Farro is a nutty and chewy grain full of protein and fiber, while freekeh is like farro but has a smoky flavor.

All these grains are delicious additions to salads and will help enhance the nutritional content of a salad and add extra fiber.

Consider your dressing options

It’s easy to turn a healthy salad into a sugary, nutritional disaster with the wrong dressing. Extra-virgin olive oil and vinegar-based dressings are the healthiest choice, and you can make them yourself at home.

Start by combining olive oil, vinegar, and a pinch of salt and pepper in a clean bowl. Then customize the dressing to your personal taste. Add herbs such as rosemary, thyme, basil, or oregano, or a pinch of garlic or onion powder. For a sweeter flavor, add a small amount of honey or maple syrup.

If you’d like a creamier texture, add a tablespoon of yogurt or mayonnaise. Once you’ve added your desired ingredients, whisk them together until the ingredients meld. Taste the dressing and adjust the seasonings as needed. Finally, pour the dressing into a sealed container and store it in the refrigerator for up to one week.

If you buy packaged salad dressing, read the label. Anything over 2g of sugar per 100g is too much. If you must choose between two dressings with equally high nutritional values, go with the one with less sugar!


By adding more nutrient-rich ingredients to your salads, you can create a meal that is both delicious and nutritious. With a healthy mix of protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates, you’ll upgrade your salad to a satisfying and nourishing meal. So, the next time you’re in the mood for a salad, don’t forget to add some extra nutrition and flavor with these nutrient-rich ingredients. Make your salad an experience that nourishes both your body and soul, from the crunchy texture of the vegetables to the tartness of the dressings. Think of it as an opportunity to create something special and unique, something that will make your taste buds tingle


  • “How to Increase the Absorption of Iron from Foods – Healthline.” 25 Aug. 2022, healthline.com/nutrition/increase-iron-absorption.
  • Goncalves A, Roi S, Nowicki M, Dhaussy A, Huertas A, Amiot MJ, Reboul E. Fat-soluble vitamin intestinal absorption: absorption sites in the intestine and interactions for absorption. Food Chem. 2015 Apr 1;172:155-60. doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2014.09.021. Epub 2014 Sep 16. PMID: 25442537.
  • “Foods that fight inflammation – Harvard Health.” 16 Nov. 2021, health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/foods-that-fight-inflammation.
  • Wholegrains: Types, Benefits, and Nutrition – NutritionFact.in, https://www.nutritionfact.in/nutrition-facts/wholegrains-types-benefits-and-nutrition.

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