Salad meal prep for weight loss is a fast and effective way to get all your daily nutrients and achieve your fitness goals without compromising quality, taste, and even quantity.
Salad meal prep is versatile and with a little bit of planning, you can enjoy healthy salads as lunch or dinner for days!
The longest I’ve meal prepped my salads were 7 days but don’t fret, it wasn’t the exact same salad every day. I switched it up quite a bit so I wouldn’t get sick of it.
In this salad meal prep for weight loss post, I share my top tips for meal prepping salad so you don’t waste money, produce or time plus you’ll get a full meal that supports your weight loss goals.
Before you get started, I hope you’ve downloaded the Fitness Planner and Worksheet for this year.
Very handy free tool for organizing your fitness goals, meal prepping, sorting out your grocery list, and budgeting. Learn more HERE.
6 Benefits of Salad Meal Prep
- The best benefit of salad meal prep is of course eating healthier food so your weight loss process is optimized.
- Salad meal prep reduces food waste because you can repurpose any leftovers for use in salads during the week.
- Salad meal prep saves you time and it’s very convenient when you just don’t want to be bothered with cooking every day.
- Salad meal prep and meal prepping in general means you have no excuses to opt for unhealthy takeout.
- Salad meal prep is fully customizable for everyone in the family. Just use the ingredients each family member prefers to put together the meal prep containers.
- Prepping meals ahead of time also means less time standing at the stove and cleaning up.
Salad Meal Prep – 9 Easy Steps for Successful Planning
Apart from keeping you on track with your fitness goals, salad meal prep is a great way to save money on groceries and time on cooking every day.
Salad meal prep is also an excellent way to have lunch or dinner for the week prepped in advance.
Following are 9 easy steps to help you salad meal prep strategically like a pro!
Step 1 – Decide On Your Prep Day
Salad meal prep takes some time depending on how many ingredients you’re using so you’ll definitely need to decide on a suitable day to get this done.
I find weekends are best so I go shopping for the ingredients on Fridays.
Step 2 – Choose Salad Ingredients
You want to have a wide variety of greens that you enjoy as a base for your salad meal prep.
This could be romaine lettuce, cos lettuce, spinach, or cabbage. A combination of several greens also works.
Don’t leave seasonal vegetables out of your salad mix. Think tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, avocados, beets, bell peppers, and mushrooms!
And there are lots of options for protein components – both meat and plant protein.
I suggest chicken, beef, grilled shrimp, chickpeas, lentils, garbanzo beans, etc.
I have a complete breakdown of everything that goes into a salad at 61 Healthy Salad Topping Ideas.
Step 3 – Rinse Salad Ingredients
Rinsing salad greens and vegetables is an important step to make sure that they are clean before you combine them or prep them.
The process can be a bit time-consuming but you only have to do it once on the main prep day.
You can also wear disposable gloves when cleaning your herbs and veggies to help reduce any risk of cross-contamination.
Step 4 – Prep Salad Greens
Salad spinners are helpful for prepping salad greens quickly and easily!
For this step, you will want to chop your larger salad greens into smaller pieces so that everything mixes well when tossed together later on in the process.
Use the salad spinner to rinse off any dirt on the greens and then wick all the moisture out with the spinner.
I clean my fruits and vegetables with white vinegar or baking soda mixed with cold water. You want your greens completely dry so it lasts for the week.
Step 5 — Prep Vegetables with a Mandolin Slicer
A mandolin slicer is bae when it comes to prepping vegetables and will cut the time required in half or less.
A mandolin slicer is perfect for quickly cutting salad veggies into bite-sized pieces.
A mandolin slicer is ideal for cutting veggies like carrots, cabbage, capsicum, cucumber, zucchini, etc into fun sizes.
Step 6 – Prep the Proteins
If you’re adding proteins to your salad meal prep, you’ll need to prep those as well. Poached chicken breast or salmon, sautéed beef, boiled eggs, plant proteins, etc.
Whatever your choice, prepare enough for the week and then set aside. I have loads of chicken recipes I use for salad meal prep and will upload them later.
Depending on the meal plan for the week/month, I may also use leftover proteins for salad meal prep as well.
Step 7 – Store Salad in Airtight Containers
At this stage, there are two ways to store your salad. You can pour chopped ingredients into separate airtight containers and then portion them over the week every day.
This is how I store my salad ingredients and toppings with airtight containers like these. I use mason jars for nuts and seeds.
This keeps most of the ingredients fresh, crisp, and crunchy for days at a time. There are a few exceptions here (mentioned below).
The second method involves putting the salad together in individual bowls for the week so you would just pull the bowl out each day and toss it with the dressing.
Step 8 – Keep Salad Dressing on the Side
I make my dressing at the beginning of every week and keep it in this handy salad shaker.
In an airtight salad shaker with dry ingredients, the dressing can last for up to a week or longer.
The salad dressing will last only a few days with fresh ingredients like garlic and ginger.
Do not mix the dressing in with the salad until you’re ready to eat otherwise you’ll end up with sad-looking soggy greens.
This is especially helpful when packing your salad for lunch so that it stays crisp and crunchy until eaten.
Step 9 – Enjoy Salad Every Day of the Week
Portion your salads out every day of the week and enjoy a quick lunch or dinner that saves you valuable time in the kitchen.
With careful calculation and planning, you can get a full tummy from a salad portion that’s less than 700 calories and stick to your weight loss goals.
Even if you’re on a tough fitness program, you can still get the calories you need from eating salads by adding the right mix of proteins.
Salad Meal Prep FAQs
Best Salad Prep Containers
The best salad meal prep containers are glass and sealable. Glass is a favorite among salad lovers because it does not sweat, which can make your salad soggy.
The lid also keeps the dressing from getting on everything else in your fridge if you’re making multiple salads for different days using the second method I mentioned above.
BPA-free plastic containers with airtight lids also work well as salad meal prep containers.
Both options are reusable, which makes them eco-friendly and can be used for a very long time.
How to Salad Meal Prep On a Budget
Salad meal prep is a great way to ensure you have healthy, low-cost meals throughout the week.
And because they are also easy and quick to prepare, there’s no chance of tanking your weight loss goals by ordering takeout because you’re too tired to cook.
To get your salad meal prep done on a budget, my best tips for this include:-
- Buy greens, vegetables, and fruits that are in season from your grocery store’s produce section and/or the farmers’ markets.
- Find a recipe with similar ingredients you enjoy on salads like salad dressing and toppings, then cut back on the quantity of these ingredients in your salad to save money.
- Don’t forget you can repurpose some of your leftovers for use in salads so take that into consideration when meal planning.
- Make your own salad dressings. They’re healthier, cheaper, and use fewer ingredients plus no artificial preservatives.
- Use fresh ingredients without any wilting leaves or parts so the shelf life is maximized for the duration.
- Avoid pre-cut vegetables from grocery stores. They can get expensive real quick and are not as fresh as making your own.
- If you have the space and some time, don’t be afraid to experiment with growing your own vegetables. You can also grow herbs with the Aerogarden Indoor Hydroponic Herb Garden.
- Don’t shop your salad ingredients randomly. Put together a list for the week or month. For tips on putting together a salad meal prep shopping list, have a look at 61 Healthy Salad Topping Ideas.
Can Salad Be Meal Prepped?
Yep, salad can be meal prepped. I prep my salads for 7 days at a time. You just have to use the right preserving techniques recommended above.
And trust me, they will taste a helluva lot better and healthier than any salad you can get at a fast-food restaurant or a grocery store produce department.
How to Store Salad Meal Prep
Store prepped salads in airtight containers and all ingredients should be completely dry.
Do not add any wet ingredients until you’re ready to eat the salad.
Salad Meal Prep Containers
Apart from the salad meal prep containers I’ve recommended above, some other great salad meal prep containers include:-
Important Salad Meal Prep Tools
If you’re going to delve into the world of salad meal prep, these tools go a long way in saving time and energy:-
- Salad Spinner
- Mandoline Slicer
- Wooden Cutting Boards – I use separate cutting boards for meat and veggies
- Chef’s Knife – a good chef’s knife gets the job done pretty quickly and reduces the risk of injury slicing so many things at once
- Meal Prep Containers
- Mason Jars – alternative to meal prep containers
- Salad Dressing Shaker
Meal Prep Salad Recipes
To put together basic meal prep salad recipes, head over to 61 Healthy Salad Topping Ideas for some great ideas.
You can put together a combination of over 30 salad recipes from the recommendations in that article.
You can also find one of my favorite salad recipes at Vegan Cabbage Salad.
Salad meal prep is a win-win all round – you save money, time and eat healthy food while at it.
If the entire process seems daunting to you, start small by meal prepping salads for only 2 – 3 days at a time.
Abi is all about staying in the best shape of your life at every age without having to starve yourself to make it happen. She’s been on her fitness journey since the age of 15 and doesn’t plan on letting up anytime soon. She’s currently studying to become a Certified Nutritionist. Learn more about Abi and her favorite fitness tools HERE. See our Editorial Guidelines here.
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