10 Tips for Building the Perfect Whole30 Salad

I LOVE a big salad and I want YOU to eat one that actually satisfies you and keeps you full until your next meal! It is possible to build a salad that fits the Whole30 meal template, is tasty, and doesn’t leave you wanting something else. Below are my top 10 tips to building a better salad. Happy eating!

1️. Build your base: Make sure your greens are clean and dry. Dry greens will help your dressing stick. Use a lot of them. Get a big bowl or shallow dish.


2️. Don’t be afraid to build a big salad. You are an active human being and you can handle more than 9 bites of greens to fuel you.

3️. Try kale. I don’t like it because it’s so popular or a superfood or whatever…I like it because it doesn’t wilt and adds flavor. Tip: chop or rip kale leaves (discard stems) and massage dressing into them with your hands. For like 2-3 minutes RUB the kale! Your dressing should have an acid in it to break down the kale a bit – lemon or apple cider vinegar is delightful with kale. Kale holds up, even dressed, for days in the fridge. Perfect for meal prep!

4️. Dress the greens and not the stuff on top. Don’t drizzle your dressing on top – instead toss your greens in dressing and arrange your toppings. You’ll use less dressing this way and still get tons of flavor, I promise.

5️. Salt and pepper your greens. And a pinch more salt to the final product. Those greens need it! No more bland salads for you.

6️. Add enough protein. Remember the recommendation from the Whole30 meal template : 1-2 palm sized portion of protein at *each meal*. This means that 2-3 eggs would be good, or an egg + chicken, or lots of tuna, or several shrimp, etc. If your salad isn’t keeping you satisfied, increase the protein portion.

7️. Add fat. You need 1-2 T *per meal*. If you have an oil-based dressing, that counts. Avocado is perfect. A drizzle of oil on top of your protein is a great way to add some extra. Nuts and seeds can help, but pair them with another source. You need fat to feel satisfied, so don’t skip this step.

8️. Add texture in the form of crunch. Nuts and seeds are perfect for this. So are thinly sliced carrots, cucumbers, and jicama.

9️. Add citrus. Some lemon in the dressing, a squeeze of lime over the top, or vinegar works. Your taste buds will thank you.

10. Consider adding warm elements. Some warm chicken next to cool pesto is really tasty. A warm chopped fried egg is cheap and easy!


Melissa Tenholder, from @chopitrealgood on Instagram, is a Whole30 Certified Coach in Saint Louis, Missouri. She is an expert at meal prep, easy family friendly cooking, and finding good deals on compliant options at the grocery store. Her philosophy is to let good enough be good enough. Oh, and have fun. And add salt. And use a bigger bowl than you think you’ll need. Is that too many philosophies?! Follow her on Instagram for more inspiration in the kitchen!