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Publication #FCS8696

Healthy Eating: Salad Suggestions1

Jennifer Hillan and Emily Minton2

Salads are quick and easy to make and have endless possibilities! Paired with whole-grain crackers or whole-wheat bread, salads make healthy and convenient meals. Try some of these ideas for your next salad:

  • Choose a variety of colorful lettuce such as romaine, red leaf, or green leaf lettuce or spinach. These choices have more nutrients than iceberg lettuce.

  • Make a salad from canned vegetables. Mix two or more chilled vegetables such as sliced carrots, beets, cut green beans, or corn.

  • Mix vegetables and fruits for a new taste. Try apple slices, blueberries, or strawberries on spinach leaves.

  • Add canned beans to your favorite salad. Experiment with kidney or lima beans, green beans, or chickpeas (garbanzos).

  • Go easy on high-fat, high-calorie dressings. Instead, buy low-fat dressing or make your own from lemon juice, lime juice, or vinegar and vegetable or olive oil.

  • To add flavor and zest to your salads, mix in chopped, fresh herbs.

Figure 1. 

Salad with shredded chicken, various lettuces, sugar snap peas, shredded carrots, sliced orange peppers, radish sprouts, spring onions, and a ginger-cilantro-sesame vinaigrette.


Photo by chotda. License: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0. Source:

[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

  • Layer tomato slices on lettuce or spinach. Top with low-fat cottage cheese.

  • Add protein to your salad with low-fat cubed or shredded cheese, chopped hard-cooked eggs, a handful of chopped nuts, cubed tofu, or canned tuna fish or chicken.

Figure 2. 

Top spinach leaves with strawberries and chopped nuts for a tasty and nutritious salad.


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Produce Pointers

  • Don’t wash produce until you are ready to use it; your veggies will stay fresh longer.

  • Freeze leftover chopped peppers, mushrooms, and onions for later use.

  • If possible, shop with a friend or relative and plan to share a head of lettuce or other produce if you can’t use it within 3 or 4 days.



La versión en español de este documento es Alimentación Saludable: Sugerencias para ensaladas (FCS8696-Span). This document, FCS8696, is one of a series of the Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. First published March 2004. Revised May 2012. Originally developed with funding from the Florida Department of Elder Affairs in partnership with state, county, and local agencies. Visit the EDIS website at


Jennifer Hillan, MSH, RD, LD/N, former ENAFS nutrition educator/trainer, and Emily Minton, former ENAFS program coordinator, Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611.

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.