Healthy Dinner Ideas: Build Your Own Salad Bar Night

Here's a fun lunch or dinner idea that is not only weight loss surgery friendly but also something the whole family can enjoy together. Build Your Own Salad Bar Night. Set out an assortment of salad items and let everyone create their own yummy masterpiece.

Family Friendly Healthy Dinner Ideas 

Top Row from left to right: Hardboiled Eggs, Shredded Cheese, Cooked Shrimp
2nd Row: Chickpeas, Salad Greens and Shredded Carrot, Grilled Chicken
3rd Row: Cucumbers, Artichoke Hearts, Tomatoes
4th Row: Red Walnuts & Almonds, Shelly's Healthified Ranch Dressing Dip (recipe below)

The standard rule is the darker the salad greens the more vitamins and minerals they have so I usually do half Spring Mix or Mixed Baby Greens and a little Baby Spinach added in.

I make sure every salad has some sort of lean protein (Chicken, Fish, Turkey, Shrimp, Tuna, Crab, Hardcooked Egg) and I aim for that. Tip: If you are grilling on the weekend, toss an extra piece or two of chicken on the grill for your Salad Bar night.

I love to add beans (Chickpeas, Black Beans, Kidney Beans) for even more protein but they are carby, they're good carbs but you know, factor them in your day.

I add veggies... raw, cooked, pickled. This is a great way to use leftovers like peas, corn. Tip: Leftover salad items can be tossed into soups or casseroles throughout the week.

Top with something fun like a sprinkle of Nuts, Seeds or Cheese. Don't go crazy, they add protein but a little goes a long way, measure. Tip: Shred cheese versus hunks or cubes.

You can turn a healthy salad into "I might as well have eaten a greasy burger and fries" with your salad dressing choice, those calories and fat grams add up quickly. I rarely use dressing especially if you have something like sliced Avocado or Tomatoes which gives the salad plenty of moisture. If I do have "dressing" I make my own with Greek Yogurt. If you do use the regular in the bottle stuff watch those portions, measure it out don't just pour. Tip: Salsa is also a great dressing substitute.

Shelly's Healthified Ranch Dressing Dip

1/2 cup Greek Yogurt
1 teaspoon Dry Buttermilk Powder
1/2 teaspoon Dried Parsley
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/2 teaspoon Onion Powder
1/2 teaspoon Dried Chives
a few twists of Black Pepper
Salt to taste

Mix till well combined. For dip use as is. For dressing thin with milk. You can find Dry Buttermilk Powder near regular powdered milk.

Family Friendly Dinner Vegetables Weight Loss Surgery Fitness Menus

Post weight loss surgery Dr's meal plans vary on when salads can be introduced. I was cleared for it at 8 weeks but as always when in doubt as your medical posse for the thumbs up.

What are some of your favorite salad bar items? Feel free to leave your favs in the comments.


Jess said...

Looks delicious! I love the prawns (shrimp) and a few olives in a salad :)
I have yet to get clearance for salads, but I'm still on puree :P

Anonymous said...

I wish I could find those red walnuts around here (Virginia)! I love salads; one of my biggest fears before WLS was that I wouldn't be able to enjoy them ever again (my PCP had warned me I may not be able to eat certain foods and that salads may be on the list) thank goodness he was wrong; also I can eat another favorite, popcorn! I do need to watch carbs better though (I'm diabetic), but I love beans in my salads too. I've seen the powdered buttermilk but never thought about using it for dip or have the bestest ideas :) Laura

Anna said...

A great dressing tip that I use is to never pour the dressing directly on the salad - instead, pour the dressing into a small dish. Dip your fork in the dressing first, then gather up your greens. That way, each bite has dressing with it, but you end up using WAY less than if you just plop it all on to your salad and toss.

Tracy @ said...

Great pictures!!! I love this idea. I feed my family salads often. In my house I serve one meal for all so it needs to be WLS friendly or be adjustable so I can eat too. I'm going to try this. I typically just make the salads for each person. But allowing everyone to choose their own will be fun!! Thanks for inspiration.

Anonymous said...

I love beets in my salad and a tiny bit of crumbled goat cheese. Lois

Kate said...

Salad is so important for any meal. I really loved your idea and thank you so much for sharing with us.

Richard P said...

Your right.. this does sound like an interesting and fun night. Just have to find out who would be interested now!

Chris said...

I can see why your new favorite breakfast is the Cinnamon Apple Walnut Salad..can't wait to try it..thanks!

leendadll said...

Garbanzo beans!

Kimme said...

I am so glad that your blog was referred to me. I am a NEWBIE and it's been hard figuring out what I can and can't eat or tolerate. I am going to try some of the more easier recipes until I get the hang of it. Sometimes I feel at a real loss since having surgery and all my other support people are just moving right along with no issues. This blog will help me to get on the right track with my eating and feeling better.