Upgrade your salad kit


Salad kits have become very popular over the last few years, and for good reason. Most of us are trying to eat healthier and they make it easier. Right? Not so fast. Not all salad kits are created equal. In fact, some of them can be loaded with added sugars, processed carbohydrates and unhealthy fats.

Upgrade your #salad kit to get a healthy, nutrient dense meal that will keep you full for hours! #saslife Click To Tweet

What to look for in a salad kit

When you are choosing a salad kit, assuming it is going to be for a meal, keep these things in mind:

  1. You need protein.
  2. You need healthy fats.
  3. Bonus if there is a variety of veggies (and not just romaine).
  4. You don’t need processed carbs or excessive added sugars.
  5. The nutrition facts are usually for only a portion of the bag. Most of them have 2 ½ to 3 ½ servings per bag.

Check out Build A Better Salad for all the details on how to create the best meal salad!

How to upgrade your salad kit

1. Add protein

Most salad kits don’t come with a source of protein so toss in leftovers, sliced deli meat, beans, canned sardines, canned/pouched salmon, hard boiled eggs, rotisserie chicken, edamame, etc.

2. Add healthy fats

Some salad kits have nuts or seeds but otherwise don't contain any other healthy fats. Add some nuts, seeds, avocado, olives, olive oil, etc. to keep you feeling full longer and help your body to absorb and utilize the fat-soluble nutrients in those colorful veggies.

3. Ditch the salad dressing...

...or use the least amount possible. The salad dressing packets tend to be very large and many contain quite a bit of added sugars. They are also typically made with soybean or canola oil. Instead, make your own salad dressing or use a different pre-made dressing with higher quality ingredients.

4. Ditch the highly processed ingredients...

...or use just a little. Many salad kits include highly processed foods like croutons, chips or fried noodles. Just because something comes with the salad kit doesn’t mean you have to eat all of it, or any of it.

A few examples:

For lunch one day, I dumped the vegan ranch crunch (pictured above) into a big glass storage container, plopped 4 turkey deli slices (24g protein) on top and took it to work. When it was time to eat, I simply sliced the avocado on top, then drizzled on my olive oil and vinegar (which was in a tiny storage container). Super easy.

For lunch another day, I added some leftover salmon from dinner and a small avocado to a cabbage, kale and radicchio mix.

Another day for dinner, I used a sweet kale salad kit with pumpkin seeds and about half of the dried cranberries. I tossed it with some extra virgin olive oil and white balsamic vinegar, then topped it with spicy baked chicken thighs and some fresh corn. This whole dinner took about 20 minutes.

Overall, I think the salad kit craze is a good one - people are eating more vegetables! As with all food, just make sure to read the ingredients and make the best choice you can at that time.


What is your favorite salad kit? How do you like to upgrade your salads?



About Author

Kelly Gehle, MS, RDN, LDN, IFNCP


Kelly is a Nutritionist at the HCC at SAS Institute Inc. in Cary NC. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Exercise Science from Arizona State University and her Master of Science degree in Nutrition from Bastyr University. She is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and an Integrative and Functional Nutrition Certified Practitioner. Her areas of expertise include functional nutrition, health and wellness education, prenatal nutrition, food allergies and intolerances and culinary nutrition.

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