I can’t tell you how many times people say to me, “I am so bored with salad, I can’t eat it for lunch anymore!” If your idea of a salad is lettuce, tomatoes and grilled chicken, read on for six simple and nutritious ways to upgrade your lunchtime salad.

Switch out your greens

Yes, kale is good for you, but so are other leafy greens. Switch up your lettuce for a subtle change in flavor. Try peppery arugula, sweet pea shoots, microgreens, hearty collard greens, or shredded brussel sprouts.

Mix up the textures

Satisfying salads come from combining a variety of flavors, textures and colors. Try using multiple kinds of lettuce or toss in a half-cup of hearty whole grains. Crunchy nuts and seeds can add a nice texture, as can fresh or dried fruit, hummus and creamy avocado.

Change your base

Just because it is a salad doesn’t mean you have to use lettuce. Use a different base, like spiralized zucchini or carrots, whole grains like farro or barley, or chunks of roasted sweet potatoes. Try these lettuce-less salad recipes.

Use fresh herbs and spices

One thing most people overlook when it comes to salads: herbs and spices. Fresh herbs like dill, mint, parsley or tarragon can add a delicious burst of flavor and aroma to your salad. Or try tossing cooked veggies with dried spices like turmeric or paprika to add a smoky kick to your salad.

Add a different type of crunch

Make your salad more interesting by swapping out those boring old croutons for a different crunch food. Dehydrated fruit like banana chips are a fun addition, or try a variety of nuts and seeds – sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds, cashews, walnuts, peanuts and more. Pomegranate arils also add a sweet crunch, along with a serving of fruit.

Toss in some fruit

Salads aren’t just a good way to get in veggies – fruit can be featured as well. Not only will it add a natural sweetness, but it will provide a different texture and color, along with some added fiber. Try using diced apples, sliced peaches or plums, clementine or orange sections, and berries like strawberries or blueberries.

Get creative with your protein

Grilled chicken is great and all, but it can be a recipe for lunchtime boredom. Try alternative protein sources like canned salmon, meatballs (microwave a frozen version), falafel, hummus, canned beans or cooked lentils. You can even add a dollop of cottage cheese or Greek yogurt to the top of your salad for an extra boost of protein.

Get inspired by these creative salad recipes:

Share your best salad recipes and tips in the comments section! We’d love to know.

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