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.