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

Salad healthy?

Last Updated on November 17, 2022 by Kayla

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

The answer is… it depends.

A majority of the 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.

Here, I’ve rounded up all of my favorits salad kit tips, so you’ll be able to 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 quite wimpy in my opinion.

If you are like me and prefer to belly up to a salad the size of a semi, my first suggestion is to add more greens. Whatever suits your fancy. 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:

  • 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

Pro Tip #2 – Use 1/2 the dressing

My number one trick for reducing the number of calories in a salad kit is to substitute half the dressing with citrus juice and/or vinegar. You (and your family!) won’t even notice the difference.

A bonus is that you’ll get better coverage on your greens with a thinner liquid, so you need less dressing overall.

For example, I purchase the Caesar salad kit at Costco on a weekly basis. I use only half the dressing and add fresh 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 vinegar to your chopped salad kit. I personally love white wine vinegar, but you can tailor to the flavor of your salad kit.

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

Pro Tip #3 – Toppings tune-up

Second to the dressing, salad kit toppings are generally the runner-up for calories. Oftentimes, toppings included add little to no nutrition to the prepackaged salad but the crunch and pizazz can make all the difference. Plus the serving is usually quite small, so use the crunchies or don’t use the crunchies – it’s up to you!

Mix in family favorites and/or nutrient-dense foods to boost nutrition and excitement to keep everyone coming back for more! Add crunch, flavor, and nutrition with your own toppings like:

  • Nuts and seeds {sliced almonds, chopped walnuts, sunflower seeds, etc.}
  • The Good Bean Crispy Crunchy Chickpeas^ {my new favorite crouton alternative – seriously so good!}
  • Cheese {shredded cheddar or parmesan, feta crumbles, goat or bleu cheese – you name it!}
  • Whisps Parmesan Cheese Crisps^
  • Frozen peas, sweet corn, or shelled edamame {thawed and drained}
  • Fruit {mandarin oranges, blueberries, sliced strawberries}
  • Canned beans {drained and rinsed}
  • Avocado

Pro Tip #4 – Include protein for a complete meal

By now, you’ve bulked up your 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 – simply add a source of protein.

  • Cooked chicken {shredded, grilled, rotisserie}
  • Grilled steak strips
  • Salmon {smoked or grilled}
  • Tuna packet
  • Shrimp
  • Cottage cheese
  • Plain Greek yogurt
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Roasted tofu or tempeh
  • Beans
  • Lentils
  • Edamame

Salad Kit Examples

To give some examples of how I like to put these bagged salad kit tips into practice, here are some of my favorite combinations.

Asian salad kit

Chopped Asian salad kits are one of my favorite bagged salads to add extra produce to. You can easily add a rainbow of color with some of the foods listed below. Bulk it up, 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
Costco Caesar Salad Kit Earthbound Farm
Costco Caesar Salad Kit Earthbound Farm

Caesar salad kit

I 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. This Smoked Salmon Caesar Salad recipe {below} 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!

  • Shredded cabbage
  • Chopped tomatoes
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Leftover taco meat
  • Avocado
  • Fresh lime juice
  • 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
  • Sunflower seeds
  • 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:

  • Spinach
  • Chopped cucumber
  • Chopped tomatoes
  • Diced red onion
  • Feta crumbles
  • Olives
  • Chickpeas {canned and drained or roasted^}
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Fresh lemon juice

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, please comment below! I would love to hear from you!

In health,

Kayla Girgen, RD, LD
Bariatric Dietitian & Mindset Coach
Digital Creator, LIFe app

^Indicates affiliate links. When you make a purchase through any of the links, there is no additional cost to you, and I may make a small {and very appreciated} commission. Thank you for your support!

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

  1. 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!

  2. 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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