Fresh salad of cucumbers, radishes and herbs. Top view

There’s a hashtag you may or may not have seen on Instagram #saddesklunch. It is exactly what it sounds like: pictures of people’s depressing lunches at their desks. Cans of soup and hot pockets do not a happy lunch make.
The good news is that you don’t need to settle. Even, and especially when you’re eating a salad. Here are a few simple salad hacks to help you take your salad game to the next level.

1. Texture texture texture Old wooden crate packed full with fresh vegetables.

You are not a cow. You are not a rabbit. There’s no need to eat straight grass. Texture is the number one factor to remember when you’re putting together a salad. Throw in crunchy walnuts, slice in fresh pear, add some dried fruit for chewiness, like goji berries or raisins. Leaves alone do not a salad make!

2. Get creative Homemade traditional french sauce remoulade in a white bowl with ingredients, lemon, eggs, shallot onion, pickles, parsley, mustard on a light stone background. Horizontal

My mister is a sauce guy. Sauce on everything. Me? Not so much. I’m all about the olive oil drizzled on everything. Whichever one of us you’re most similar too, find a sauce that works. And don’t be afraid to think outside of the box. It doesn’t have to be ranch or a blue cheese sauce; it can be hummus, pesto, sriracha or salsa; just find a sauce that adds flavor without overpowering the natural flavor of the leaves and won’t drown them.

3. Check your flavor fresh and delicous garden salad on a table

Believe it or not – different leaves have different flavors. Spinach is pretty neutral, arugula has a kick to it, redder leaves tend to have slightly darker, bitter flavors, cabbage leaves have quite a strong flavor, lettuce is basically water; build your salads based on the kind of flavor you’re looking for, or at the very least, pick a salad mix that has leaves you like the taste of, don’t just stick to spinach.

4. Think outside the box  Fresh and colorful vegetables and fruits in a wooden crate

A salad can consist of vegetables other than leafy veg. You can have shaved broccoli, add peas, beets, asparagus, carrots, cucumbers; the list is literally endless. Using vegetable bases that aren’t leaves frees you up to experiment a little more and get more of the texture I was talking about. Don’t be afraid to mix it up!

5. Just Add Protein Appetizer of protein foods on table

Or seafood, or vegetarian protein; whatever floats your boat. Chop it up and chuck it in – my personal favorite is salmon that’s been cooked and kind of torn apart and scattered in the salad – it’s so so good and feels so fresh!

6. Herbs Fresh herbs in pot on windowsill. Shallow dof

Two herbs that are severely underrated: cilantro and mint. Chop a few leaves up and mix them into your salad for instant freshness – you’ll get fuller flavor and way more joy out of it!

Femi A-Williams is a health and fitness convert trying to reconcile a healthy lifestyle and a happy food life. She is 80% whole grain and 20% donut.

All posts by Femi A-Williams