Are Premade Salad Kits Healthy? 4 Tips from a Registered Dietitian

Are premade salad kits healthy

Last Updated on May 19, 2023 by Kayla

It’s no question they are convenient, but are premade salad kits healthy?

The answer is… it depends.

Most calories from prepackaged salad kits come from the dressing and toppings. And that’s the best part, right?!

Well, don’t fret! With a few simple swaps, you can transform a bagged salad kit into a quick and healthy meal the whole family will enjoy.

I’ve rounded up my favorite salad kit tips to level up the nutrition on prepackaged salad kits, so you can eat your vegetables and enjoy them too!

Pro Tip #1 – Add more produce

Once the innards (i.e., bag of dressing and toppings) are removed from the main compartment of the salad kit, the remaining lettuce and greens are pretty wimpy.

If you’re like me and like to belly up to a big ol’ bowl of salad, my first suggestion is to add more greens for extra volume. My favorite additions are baby spinach, coleslaw mix, or shredded angel hair cabbage which adds extra crunch.

Bulk up your salad kit with extra greens like:

  • Spinach
  • Coleslaw mix
  • Shredded cabbage
  • Chopped kale
  • Arugula
  • Romaine
  • Broccoli slaw
  • Shaved Brussels sprouts

Add color, texture, and flavor with:

  • Shredded carrots
  • Sliced bell peppers
  • Chopped cucumber
  • Diced celery
  • Tomatoes
  • Leftover roasted or grilled vegetables

Jazz up a premade salad kit with a variety of colors and textures. Semi-homemade salads like this help customize to your taste and boost nutrition at the same time!

Pro Tip #2 – Use 1/2 the dressing

Unfortunately, most bagged salad kits use dressings packed with sugar and highly processed oils. So my number one trick for healthifying premade salad kits is to substitute half the dressing with citrus juice or vinegar.

For example, I purchase the Caesar salad kit at Costco on a weekly basis. I substitute half the dressing for freshly squeezed lemon juice – usually 1/2 to 1 whole lemon.

I love my handheld citrus juicer for this. It’s my favorite kitchen tool, and it prevents lemon seeds from making it to the salad party. To get the most from your lime or lemon, place the fruit cut-side down in the juicer and squeeze.

Another simple way to add a punch of acid and light up your taste buds is to add a splash of vinegar to your chopped salad kit. I love white wine vinegar, but you can choose any vinegar to pair with your salad kit.

For instance, rice wine vinegar works best for Asian salad kits, and white balsamic vinegar would be a fantastic substitute in a Mediterranean chopped salad kit.

A bonus is that you’ll get better coverage on your greens with a thinner liquid, so you need less dressing overall. Depending on how much produce you add (per pro tip#1), you may need more or less, so season to suit your taste buds.

For best results, add the dressing just before serving. If you use a premade salad kit to pack a lunch, try a salad container with compartments to keep your greens dry until you’re ready to eat!

Pro Tip #3 – Toppings tune-up

Second to the dressing, salad kit toppings are generally the runner-up for highly-processed ingredients and added calories.

Often, the provided salad kit toppings add little to no nutrition, but the crunch and pizazz can make all the difference on whether or not your family eats it.

Add crunch, flavor, and nutrition with bonus toppings like:

  • Nuts and seeds like sliced almonds, chopped walnuts, sunflower seeds, etc.
  • Roasted chickpeas or Bada Beans (my favorite crouton alternatives!)
  • Cheese (shredded cheddar, parmesan, feta crumbles, goat or bleu cheese)
  • Crumbled Cheese Whisps
  • Frozen peas, sweet corn, or shelled edamame (thawed and drained)
  • Fruit such as mandarin oranges, blueberries, or sliced strawberries
  • Green or black olives
  • Avocado

Toppings can make or break a salad. Add excitement and make salad kits more healthy by mixing in nutrient-dense extras.

Pro Tip #4 – Include protein for a complete meal

By now, you’ve bulked up your bagged salad kit with extra greens, produce, and healthy toppings.

Take your meal to the next level and transform your premade salad kit into a full-fledged entrée by adding a high-quality protein such as:

  • Cooked chicken (shredded, grilled, rotisserie)
  • Grilled steak strips
  • Salmon (smoked or grilled)
  • Lemon & pepper tuna packet
  • Shrimp
  • Cottage cheese
  • Plain Greek yogurt
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Roasted tofu or tempeh
  • Beans
  • Pre-cooked lentils
  • Edamame

With these four tips, you can transform a bagged salad kit into a crowd-pleasing entreé in a matter of minutes.

Salad Kit Examples

Let’s put it into practice and review some of my favorite five-star salad combinations. Find my favorite semi-homemade salad kit combos below.

Asian salad kit

Chopped Asian salad kits are one of my favorite bagged salads to bulk up with extra produce. You can easily add a rainbow of color, bring it to a potluck, and fool your friends and family with your fancy salad-making skills!

  • Thinly sliced red bell pepper
  • Shredded carrots
  • Shredded cabbage
  • Chopped broccoli
  • Snap peas
  • Shelled edamame
  • Mandarin oranges
  • Scallions
  • Cilantro
  • Rice wine vinegar
  • Roasted peanuts
  • Chow mein noodles
  • Crispy wonton crisps
Costco Caesar Salad Kit Earthbound Farm
Costco Caesar Salad Kit Earthbound Farm

Caesar salad kit

Add the following to a family-sized salad kit and get four large salads. Store the dressing separately, and you’ve got lunches prepped for the week!

As mentioned earlier, I love Costco’s Earthbound Farm Caesar salad kit. So much so that I dedicated an entire recipe to one of my go-to salads. My Smoked Salmon Caesar Salad recipe hits the spot in the summer and is hearty enough to make it to your rotation of quick winter dinners.

Smoked Salmon Casear Salad
Smoked Salmon Caesar Salad

BBQ Ranch, Avocado Ranch and Southwest salad kits

For these salad kits, I like substituting half the dressing for salsa. The salad will still be packed with flavor and coats the greens nicely!

Try bulking up your salad kit with:

  • Shredded cabbage
  • Chopped tomatoes
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Leftover taco meat
  • Avocado
  • Fresh lime juice
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Salsa

Sunflower Crunch or Sweet Kale salad kit

The Sweet Kale salad kit is my husband’s favorite. I add the following to make it a complete meal:

  • Fresh blueberries
  • Sliced almonds
  • Chopped, cooked chicken
  • Lemon juice
Sweet kale salad with blueberries, chicken, and sliced almonds
Eat Smart Sweet Kale salad kit with blueberries, grilled chicken strips, and sliced almonds

Mediterranean salad kit

Second to the Asian salad kit, this is one of my favorite salad kits to doctor up. My recommended add-ins include:

Well friends, I hope this post helps answer your question about whether or not salad kits are healthy. As you can see, the answer is a resounding “YES” when you combine one or more of the tips listed here.

If you have feedback or suggestions about how you healthify your bagged salad kits, leave your tips in the comment below!

Yours truly,

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6 thoughts on “Are Premade Salad Kits Healthy? 4 Tips from a Registered Dietitian

  1. Most of the time I remove the meat and cheese from the pre-made kits and give those to my cats.I toss the dressing and anything that contains flour, I will use plain vinegar on the salad.The only reason I don’t eat those items is because of the salt, sugar and the wrong types of fats that are used.

  2. I will get 2 kits and only use 1 dressing. I also add shredded carrots and extra pumpkin or sunflower seeds since this is usually a side salad.

    I love the idea of adding a protein since we often have a big salad with leftover chicken or fish as dinner. I’ve never thought of using a premixed kit.

    Of course I’ve saved a bunch of dressing packs. Now I’m cleaning the refrigerator and have no idea when they expire. My search came across your post so that was nice at least. Thanks for the tips!

  3. This is helpful. I’ve lost a lot of weight in the last couple of years, but now I’m trying to stabilize and keep it off. In some ways, that’s harder than losing it.

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