Monday, May 9, 2011

Thrifty Strategy- Salad Bar Tips

We've all been there. Just trying to have a healthy lunch, we head to the salad bar. We create a masterpiece of lettuce, toppings, and dressing. Then we get to the checkout scale and reality hits. That plastic box of greens cost over $10? What did I do wrong?

In March, the New York Times did an article on smart salad bar strategies "How to Beat the Salad Bar." The graphic they provided is below. In a nutshell, you should go for the items that cost more per pound on their own than the salad bar charges. So for example, piling your salad with sun-dried tomatoes that would cost $9.99 per pound elsewhere is a good value if the salad bar charges $7.99 per pound.

Graphic from
Rachael Ray recently did a segment on her show about the same topic. Best Value at the Salad Bar One great tip shared there was to skip salad dressing from the salad bar and dress it yourself when you get back to your desk- just keep a bottle of your favorite dressing in the fridge or some packets of dressing in your desk drawer. That way you're not paying for the weight of the liquid dressing.

One tip I've learned from experience at olive bars that charge by weight- make sure to drain out any extra oil or marinade you might have picked up when scooping your olives. A drop here and there can add up.

Go get your (thrifty) salad bar on!


  1. We are the royalty of salad bars in our household. Well maybe, I should just say JP is the king since this was his main means of 'cooking' prior to me was hitting up Copps salad bar. One thing we usually do: We buy a bag of lettuce and then just get toppings from the salad bar. I guess it depend if you are doing a grocery store salad bar or one at a deli or cafeteria.


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