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This is a simple and great question.

The best way to make the healthiest salad is to ensure you have a balance of macro and micronutrients.

healthiest salad ingredient
Photo + Graphics Credit: Crave Nutritional Cooking

When it comes to healthy eating and better yet, eating on a budget, the best way to meal prep the healthiest salad is by using a step formula.

I do the same thing for my smoothies formulas too.

These include the usual suspects like fruits, vegetables, and animal protein.

But you should also take the opportunity to add superfoods and an adaptogen or two.

We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post.

When building your salad, choose one from each category:

celery-healthiest-salad-ingredient
Photo + Graphics Credit: Crave Nutritional Cooking
  1. Start with your salad base: Quinoa/ Baby Spinach leaves / Cooked Kale (healthier than raw) / Red cabbage / White cabbage / Cauliflower rice / Mixture of Salad Greens
  2. Add some simple Carbs: Tomatoes / Cucumber / Roasted Butternut / Grated Carrots / Roasted Beets / Beans / Red onions
  3. Add some Fibre: Broccoli / Shredded Cabbage (Slaw) / Cannellini Beans / Celery / Coriander / Parsley / Celery
  4. Add a Protein: Feta / Ricotta / Goats Cheese / Chickpeas* / Brown Lentils* / Chicken breast
  5. Add some Nuts: Almonds / Cashews (great with chicken) / Walnuts (brain health) / Macadamia / Pecans
  6. Add some Seeds (lightly toasted is delicious): Sesame Seeds / Pumpkin Seeds / Sunflower Seeds / Chia Seeds / Flaxseeds (add these ground to everything for their Omega 3 content)
  7. Add a Healthy Fat: Green Pesto / Olive Oil / Avocado Oil / Toasted Coconut Flakes / Tahini / Salad dressing made with olive oil, apple cider vinegar, lemon, salt, pepper, maple syrup
  8. Add a Superfood: Avocado / Pomegranate / Berries / Salmon / Garlic / Grapefruit / Kimchi / Boiled Egg / Seaweed
  9. Add an Adaptogen: Miso / Ashwagandha / Reishi (medicinal mushroom) / Turmeric

Each category contains an ingredient that is beneficial for a core function in the body. For example heart health, gut health, brain health, bone health, skin health, and eye health and it contributes to the optimal functioning of other metabolic processes also.

So you’re covered, plus you can play around with mixing and matching your ingredients – that’s the fun and delicious part.

*Chickpeas and Lentils are great plant-based protein alternatives and they’re more budget-friendly. Red lentils in particular contain the same amount of protein as red meat (depending on portion size).

Avocado holder

Do you hate discarding avocado because it’s gone all brown? Squeezing lemon juice works well but it’s not as effective as keeping it in a sealed holder like this one. This storage container makes your avocados last longer. It’s worth having if you’re meal prepping in advance.

Veggie holders

These are delightful and perfect for saving your conventional containers for storing actual cooked meals.

Conclusion

So, it’s that easy to put together the healthiest salad when you follow a step-by-step formula. It’s the best way to check all your healthy food boxes, especially those that have healing benefits.

Recipes that follow a step formula give you the flexibility to choose by mixing and matching ingredients.

When you find yourself craving a flavor or texture, there’s no better opportunity to make a healthy swap. Download my FREE Guide for Healthy Craving Swaps, it’ll inspire you.

If you liked this recipe post, you’ll love this article which also uses recipe formulas to make healthy meals.

Would you like to see more salad recipe ideas like this? Leave a comment, I value all feedback!

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