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5 Tips for Paleo/Keto Meal Prep: Salad Edition

Containers for Paleo leftovers

Prepping meals in advance is a time-honored trick for sticking to any kind of healthy eating plan. It’s basically like storing willpower for later, in lunch form. You’re doing the work (cooking, packing, washing up) on the weekend when you have the time and your energy/willpower hasn’t been all sucked up by the demands of the week. Then on Thursday night, when you would ordinarily be too drained and worn out to cook…it doesn’t matter because you already did the cooking on Sunday!

A big salad is a classic Paleo lunch, but salads can be challenging to meal prep, with everything from soggy lettuce to uninspiring repetitive lunches lining up to ruin your day. Here are 5 tips for salad-centric meal prep:

1. Free yourself from lettuce tyrannyKale all-star

The most perishable part of a salad is typically the greens (lettuce, spinach, or other goodies like arugula). Greens are great, but you don’t actually have to use them in every single salad. There are all kinds of other choices that give you more leeway on storage time. Consider…

2. Consider cooked vegetables

Salads don’t have to be raw, and in fact, sometimes cooked vegetables are actually easier on the digestion. Try a roasted salad to break things up – put some peppers, onions, broccoli, and squash on a sheet pan, roast, and drizzle with dressing to eat hot or cold. Can’t decide which veg to use? Try this roasted winter vegetable salad that has it all!

You can also add cooked vegetables to a raw salad for extra flavor and texture. What about broccoli roasted with sesame seeds and coconut aminos on top of an Asian-style salad? Steamed or boiled beets on top of kale with balsamic vinaigrette? Butternut squash roasted with cinnamon? Here’s another very tasty recipe for roasted vegetables over greens.

3. Buy head lettuce and chop it yourself

Lettuce goes bad all too easily, and the browning/wilting process speeds up even more once the lettuce is chopped.

If you buy lettuce that’s already been pre-chopped, then that accelerated browning/wilting has already gotten started before the lettuce even hits your fridge. Lettuce on the head will be in better shape when you buy it. There’s a lot to be said for the convenience of pre-chopped greens, but if longevity is a top concern, a big head of Romaine will do you a lot better than a bag.

4. Pack your salad correctly

A few tips for packing:

5. Use variations to keep it interestingApple cider vinegar

Meal prepping saves time and all, but who really wants to eat the exact same salad 5 lunches in a row? Even if it’s a really tasty salad, that list is very short. But meal prep doesn’t mean that every meal for the week has to be the same. Liven it up with extras like…

Here’s a list of some off-beat staples to kick up your salads a little more.

6. Make sure to add protein and fat

Eating vegetables is great, but eating only vegetables doesn’t cut it. Every Paleo meal needs protein (chicken, ham, roast beef, turkey, eggs, whatever you like) and fat (avocado, oil in the dressing, nuts, and/or cheese if you do dairy). The protein and fat don’t necessarily need to be part of the salad, but they need to be in the meal somewhere.

Salads can also easily incorporate carbs (roasted sweet potatoes! Honey in the dressing! Or try this mustard and bacon potato salad!) but don’t have to.

What’s your suggestion?

Got any amazing tips for delicious, prep-friendly, packable salads? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter!