Nutrition Articles

6 Salad-Packing Smarts

Simple Steps to Go Green at Work

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So, you’re looking for a fast, portable and veggie-packed lunch that you can easily take with you to work. What’s the first thing that comes to mind? Salad, of course! Salads are versatile, quick to throw together, and jam-packed with nutrients to keep you going through a long workday. But there is more of an art to packing salad than you might think! Here are some tips to ensure a safe, satisfying and healthy salad lunch.

Plan Ahead
What’s the best way to ensure you’ll eat salad for lunch? Set yourself up for success! Over the weekend, go shopping to gather your favorite salad toppings. Then, save yourself some time by chopping up your veggies and assembling your ingredients on Sunday. Store your prepped ingredients in the fridge for the workweek ahead. That way, you can quickly throw together your salad before you leave each morning without hassle.

Pack It the Night Before
Now you’ve got your salad ingredients all ready to go for the week. But if you still don’t feel like you have a second to spare in the morning, pack your lunch the night before. If you really want to get ahead of the game, portion out your ingredients in individual containers for every day of the week—then, just grab from your salad stash and go!

Store Toppings Separately
Have you ever thrown together a salad in the morning, only to open it up at lunchtime to find that it had gone soggy? Prevent a disappointing lunch by packaging your dressing, croutons, cheese, and other toppings in separate, small plastic tubs or baggies. Try one of these handy containers to keep everything nice and fresh.

Keep It Safe
For optimal food safety and freshness, it’s best to keep your salad refrigerated (at 40 degrees F or below) until ready to eat. If your workplace doesn’t have a fridge, make sure to include an ice pack in your lunch bag to keep your food cold.

Eat Away from Your Desk
When it comes time to enjoy your salad, step away from your desk! Not only is eating at your desk unsanitary, but it also keeps you from properly enjoying your food. Take a breather and eat away from any distractions so you can really focus on your salad. This will help promote satiety and give you a much-needed break from the day.

Mix Things Up (Often!)
It can be easy to get stuck in a food rut, but there are so many ways you can add variety to your greens. Rotate different meats, nuts and fruits for something new every day. You can even use some of your favorite non-salad foods as inspiration. Are you a fan of nachos? Try a hearty taco salad by topping romaine lettuce with ground beef, salsa and black beans. If you love pizza, toss spinach with chopped tomatoes, herbs, olive oil and fresh mozzarella cheese. The sky’s the limit! Additionally, if you have dinner leftovers, chances are that they’d probably make great salad toppings. Grilled or roasted chicken, ground beef or turkey, sliced steak, grilled veggies, and even fruit salad make excellent salad additions the next day.
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About The Author

Melinda Hershey Melinda Hershey
Melinda has a bachelor’s degree in health promotion and education and is an ACE-Certified Personal Trainer. Before working as an editor for SparkPeople, she developed and taught health programs for several non-profit organizations. She enjoys writing, interval training, yoga, and cooking with friends.

Member Comments

  • BAUMAN147
    I've been prepping my chopped salad ingredients ahead of time for years. I wash and chop the veggies (lettuce, bell peppers, cucumbers, mushrooms, etc). After I put it in a storage container, I take a paper towel and fold it, place it on top and then put on the lid. I store it in the fridge upside down. That way the excess water is absorbed and keeps the veggies from molding/rotting. Now I actually have some rags that I bought and washed to be used solely for this purpose. All my other rags are from old clothing or linens, so it's easy to keep these rags separate so that I don't use them for anything but food. - 2/14/2014 12:58:51 PM
  • Thank you for including recipes that don't include lettuces. Having an allergy to raw greens, I seldom see ideas for greens-less salads that I can enjoy. Appreciate it. - 2/13/2014 4:01:28 AM
  • My mother takes Mason jars and adds in layers, the following:
    6 cherry tomatoes
    3 shredded romaine lettuce leaves
    1/4 shredded onions
    1/4 shredded green peppers
    1/4 cup shredded cheese

    Put some lemon juice or light dressing in the jar, seal it, and you have a built in salad shaker that you can eat out of. Goodness, I could go crazy on those. :0 - 2/6/2014 9:51:01 AM
  • @TRISH_CA: Thanks for letting us know! It's fixed now :) - 1/10/2014 9:16:41 AM
  • Great article, but some of the links don't work for me (for example the one about how eating at your desk is unsanitary, and the one about being stuck in a food rut). Please fix, I'd like to check out the links! - 1/9/2014 2:14:55 PM
  • PETTY-CHIA
    These are good ideas. I eat a big salad filled with protein (beans, veggie burgers) every day for lunch. Sometimes I make a huge salad at home and eat from it over the week (adding things that might brown--like apples, pears, avocadoes--just before I eat) or hit up the salad bar at Whole Foods in the morning before work and keep it in the work fridge; one large salad container for WF holds enough for 3 lunches for me. I then cook a veggie burger separately, cut it up, and add it on top. Just be sure not to overdo dressing! I use simply olive oil (1tsp), cider vinegar (2tsp), and a sprinkle of salt -- measured separately and added just before I eat. - 1/9/2014 1:36:26 PM

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