Salad Woes? Tips for Eating More Salads

Salad_ZoomOh, salad.  I love thee.  I hate thee.  I eat thee. I avoid thee (at times, with every fiber of my being).  Our relationship is complicated, to say the very least.


Because salads are not simple.  They’re not just the tossing of leafy greens with an oily substance to bind them together.  Salads require effort…and a certain mindset.

In my years of tedious salad eating, I have accumulated some tips on making an adequate, healthy salad. Without further rambling, here they are:

Lowered Expectations

You must accept the fact that your meal will only be mediocre when you are making a salad.  This is absolutely necessary.  If you embark on a meal where salad is the main course and you are thinking about burgers or pizza, you will be crushed.  A salad, even at its best, can only reach a certain level of okay.

It is best if you focus on the fact that you are being healthy.  Think of it as dues paid for your cheat day.  You could also just try not to think about food at all, focusing only on fueling your body.  Either way you look at it, you must prepare yourself for a subpar experience.

Lettuce Choice is Crucial

Lettuce is basically leaves and to make matters worse, the healthier the lettuce is, the more it tastes like a weed you pulled from your back yard.  This is where you have to make a personal decision by weighing health benefits with quality of life.  If you can gnaw on dandelions  with a light coating of a raspberry vinaigrette without diminishing your mood, then more power to you.  You should reach for Kale in the produce section with pride.

If you prefer your lettuce to be crunched rather than tasted, don’t be embarrassed to reach for iceberg or butter as both are still healthier than a grilled Nutella sandwich with it’s warm chocolaty goodness…damn it…go back to the first step immediately.

Add-ins: Not so Important After All

When you first decide to make salad a main staple in your diet, you go all out.  Tomato, check.  Cucumber, check.  Olives, peppers, onions, celery: check.  You slice and dice your way to a gourmet salad that rivals a restaurant’s creation.  Since you are being so healthy, it’s even okay to add a few croutons.  Hard boiled egg?  Not a problem, you’ll just boil one up really quick.  You sit down with a napkin in your lap and consume the bowl of healthiness with the highest manners.

After eating salads for a few months, things change.  When you open your fridge, you will pick up the lettuce and glance at the other fixings, shake your head, grab the dressing and close the door.  Since you aren’t adding anything else to it, you should probably have more croutons.   You don’t bother to sit and eat it; instead, you stand at the kitchen counter with lettuce slapping the sides of your face as you shove it in your mouth and finish it within a minute.  The relief of choking down the mandatory leafy veggies will cause a physical reaction in you.  Savor the feeling; it is the only good one that you will have during the experience.

Dressing: The One Redeeming Quality

If you are a person who can eat a salad without dressing, then you should just go back to your home planet, because you must be an alien.  The only reason to somewhat enjoy a salad is the dressing.  There are plenty of options, as displayed by the wall of choices in the grocery store condiment aisle.  All of them are filled with flavor designed to make your salad experience bearable.   Here are some rough guidelines to help you choose your dressing:

  • Ranch – When you feel wildly optimistic and fun-loving.  Everything is going your way when Ranch is the choice of the day.
  • Thousand Island – When you miss fast food and really want a Big Mac.
  • French – When you feel sassy and sophisticated—it’s called French after all.  Oui!
  • Greek – When you need an escape.  While you eat, you can picture yourself on a boat off the coast of Greece with a hot guy named Yannis Angelopoulos slathering sunscreen on you.  Or if you are a guy, it’s a busty brunette named Katerina.
  • Oil and Vinegar – You are too boring and too perfect for your own good.

Common Side Effects and Misconceptions

Now that we have learned about making a salad, there are two important things you must remember when eating salads regularly.


Don’t fret when one day your mouth, body, and soul reject the salad.  It will happen. You will feel guilt. You will pile vegetables on a plate to feel better, because even though they may be the same things you would normally put in a salad, it is not technically a salad.  The distinction matters.

The important thing to remember is not to force the salad at this point, or you risk permanent damage from which the salad will not be able to return…ever.  Instead, focus on other foods for a while.  Be gentle with yourself and nurture yourself.  When you do go back on salads, do it gradually—for instance, just have a side salad with your meal.  Try to remember something, anything, you might have remotely liked about it in the first place.  Often, a useful tip is to remember your waistline when you ate them regularly.

Those Other Salads

Salads are not defined by lettuce.  There are plenty of other salad options that can be just as tolerable.  When you tire of one, move on to another or create your own.  Some to consider are egg, bean, potato, pasta, chicken and tuna.  Okay, some of those might not be the healthiest, but they sure are delicious.  Sometimes you need to treat yourself with something scrumptious that has salad in the name.

Please feel free to share your experiences with salads, good and bad.  And remember:

Salad Poem

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  1. You have perfectly captured my sentiments on salad!! And no matter how much Greek dressing I have Yannis never shows up!! Must get myself pseudo psyched for the next salad tomorrow at noon!! Though recently my salads lately have been coming with a side of cupcakes!!

    • Julie M. Mulligan says:

      As one of your beta testers, I can attest to the fact that your cupcakes are impossible to resist!!

  2. Janey Letter says:

    My body won’t tolerate eating too many salads in the week. I have to pull back and rest my gut! Great article! You must have been hearing my thoughts!

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