A week’s worth of salad ideas

Since I started photographing my meals (especially my lunches), it has come to my attention that I eat A LOT of salad – at least one a day to be exact. I LOVE loading up on fresh foods early in the day and salads are the perfect way to do it. They are filling, healthy and are SO easy to switch up on a daily basis.

I know that a lot of people hate packing their lunches and especially avoid making things like salads because they seem to be too time intensive, but I am determined to show the world (or at least the lunch packers of the world) that it is not only possible, but easy to pack fun and delicious meals everyday. Lunch doesn’t have to be boring!  Wouldn’t it be nice to look forward to lunch and know that you are doing something good for your body/wallet on a daily basis?  It is a myth that lunch packing has to be tedious or monotonous. A weeks worth of various vegetables/grains/proteins can actually provide a limitless amount of fun lunch (salad!) options…..

My lunches of the week….  (including what I had to work with):

(side note: I share all of this food with my sister… just so you are aware that I don’t eat 8 cups of beans by myself in one week)

Vegetables:

  • spinach (1 tub)
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 big bag of baby carrots
  • 1 head broccoli
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1 bag each of kale and arugula (the tub of spinach I bought on Sunday which was NOT packed very full… (such a rip off!), so I had to replenish my greens mid-week – which is usually not the case)
  • radish (a few leftover from last week)

Grains:

  • quinoa (I made about 2 cups worth on Sunday night for the week)
  • brown rice spiral pasta (made about 2 cups worth on Sunday night as well)
  • whole grain bread (I will usually eat a slice on the side with my salad if I don’t add a grain into the mix)

Protein:

  • 1 can pinto beans (3 servings a can)
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can bean salad
  • lentils (I made 2 cups worth on Sunday when I made the quinoa and pasta) –  enough for approximately 4 meals

Additional items (things that I needed to use up or ingredients that I usually have on hand):

  • goat cheese
  • sunflower seeds
  • blueberries (the last of a pint from last week)
  • radishes (from last week)
  • various vinegars/sauces/dressings

Monday

Fruity spinach salad with quinoa and blueberries

  • spinach
  • quinoa (1/2 cup)
  • pinto beans (1/2 cup)
  • chopped carrots
  • chopped zucchini
  • chopped broccoli
  • chopped radish
  • sprinkle of blueberries (the last of a container from last week)
  • dressing: Trader Joe’s Muscat Orange Vinegarette

Tuesday

Indian-inspired salad with lentils, spinach, quinoa and goat cheese

  • spinach
  • lentils (1/2 cup)
  • quinoa (1/2 cup)
  • chopped carrots
  • chopped broccoli
  • chopped zucchini
  • goat cheese
  • dressing: Trader Joe’s curry simmer sauce/marinade

Wednesday

BBQ sweet potato, kale, and black bean salad

  • kale
  • zucchini
  • sweet potato (1/2 of a medium-sized potato, microwaved and cut into bite-sized pieces)
  • black beans (1/2 cup)
  • quinoa (a small sprinkling of whatever I had left in the fridge… maybe 2 tbsp?? )
  • dressing: Trader Joe’s BBQ sauce diluted with a little water to thin it out

Thursday

Arugula bean salad with sunflower seeds (enjoyed in the sun!)

  • arugula
  • bean salad (1/2 cup)- in a vinegar-based marinade which served as my dressing
  • chopped carrot
  • chopped broccoli
  • sunflower seeds

I also ate a slice of bread on the side with this.

I bought this canned bean salad (with string beans, kidney beans and pinto beans) a longgg time ago and finally used it as a salad topper this week. I loved the vinegar-y and tanginess of this mixture and it felt so light and spring-y. I am inspired to make my own… and may need to make this recipe from Tone It Up in the near future….

Friday

“Pasta salad” with arugula and pinto beans

  • arugula
  • pinto beans (1/2 cup)
  • brown rice pasta (1/2 cup)
  • chopped zucchini
  • chopped carrot
  • chopped broccoli
  • dressing: Trader Joe’s Muscat Orange Vinegar

So there you have it….. I hope I (maybe?) showed how a weeks worth of vegetables can be made into different salad/meal options! I love how  a few basic ingredients can be switched up so easily to make a completely different meal. What can I say, I love my salad.

Do you eat a lot of salads for lunch? If so, how do you keep them exciting? I like to switch up dressings everyday so I never get bored, and I also try to add “fun ingredients” (like blueberries or sweet potatoes) to keep things exciting.

What is your favorite salad combination? I love the mixture of quinoa, goat cheese and broccoli together in salads and have also been loving to add fruit to my salads as well these days

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