WELLNESS
01/16/2014 08:52 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

8 Tricks To Spend Less On The Perfect Salad

Detail of a beautiful salad buffet with a rich choice
Detail of a beautiful salad buffet with a rich choice

For some, 2014 is the year of the horse. For you, it's the year of the salad.

But if you've noticed that filling a large takeout container with rabbit food is getting kinda costly ($14 for a plate of broccoli?), we totally hear you. By-the-pound salad bars can get real pricey, very quickly.

That's why we rounded up the healthiest, lightest options that'll keep your stomach full and your lunch at an appropriate price point. See our picks for "skips" and "scoops" at the salad bar below. Then get back to feeling virtuous.

  • The Veggie
    <strong>Skip:</strong> Beets
<br><br><strong>Scoop:</strong> You don't have to hit the scale to know that beets are seriously
    Shutterstock
    Skip: Beets

    Scoop: You don't have to hit the scale to know that beets are seriously heavy business. Subbing in another root vegetable -- shredded carrots, perhaps -- will shave a couple bucks off your food bill.
  • The Dressing
    <strong>Skip:</strong> Gloppy, fat-laden dressing
<br><br><strong>Scoop:</strong> Costing just pennies, a drizzle of extra-vi
    Shutterstock
    Skip: Gloppy, fat-laden dressing

    Scoop: Costing just pennies, a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar will be much friendlier to your wallet -- not to mention your waistline.
  • The Legume
    <strong>Skip:</strong> Peas (Who really likes them anyway?!)
<br><br><strong>Scoop:</strong> Edamame has more than twice the
    Skip: Peas (Who really likes them anyway?!)

    Scoop: Edamame has more than twice the protein, so you can easily eat fewer and save yourself some cents.
  • The Fiber
    <strong>Skip:</strong> Chickpeas
<br><br><strong>Scoop:</strong> Go nuts for nuts. Walnuts are particularly lightweight, so t
    Shutterstock
    Skip: Chickpeas

    Scoop: Go nuts for nuts. Walnuts are particularly lightweight, so they won't cost you much at the salad bar -- whereas if you purchased them off the shelf, you'd pay around $10 per pound.
  • The Cheese
    <strong>Skip:</strong> Cheddar
<br><br><strong>Scoop:</strong> Be honest with yourself: Once you're adding cheddar, you're pr
    Shutterstock
    Skip: Cheddar

    Scoop: Be honest with yourself: Once you're adding cheddar, you're probably piling on cheddar. Instead, try a few shavings of Parmesan, which is chockfull of umami flavor, so you need less of it.
  • The Fruit
    <strong>Skip:</strong> Grapes
<br><br><strong>Scoop:</strong> Swap in their virtually weightless dried version, raisins.
    Shutterstock
    Skip: Grapes

    Scoop: Swap in their virtually weightless dried version, raisins.
  • The Protein
    <strong>Skip:</strong> Hard-boiled eggs
<br><br><strong>Scoop:</strong> Eggs are cheap at the store, but at the salad bar the
    Shutterstock
    Skip: Hard-boiled eggs

    Scoop: Eggs are cheap at the store, but at the salad bar they're an instant money-suck. Instead, load up on chicken, which is usually cheaper at the salad bar than it is in the meat department.
  • The Extras
    <strong>Skip:</strong> Bland blocks of tofu
<br><br><strong>Scoop:</strong> We know croutons aren't exactly diet-friendly, bu
    Skip: Bland blocks of tofu

    Scoop: We know croutons aren't exactly diet-friendly, but in moderation they can be a super-flavorful addition -- and substantially lower in price.
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