Sure, we all want to eat healthy and be healthy. One might think that the salad bar at the local grocery store would be a great place to start. While yes, salads are healthier for you than, oh let’s say cheeseburgers, one might just break the bank when paying for it quite literally by the pound.
Let me ask you this: have you ever created the perfect salad – topped with cheeses, eggs and your favorite dressing – gotten to checkout and about choked on that $13 displayed on the register? I know I have, and never again! Take it from me, there are 10 things to buy (and avoid) to Save Money at a Salad Bar Near You.
Save Money at a Salad Bar Near You
The salad bar at your local grocery store is priced by weight – typically between $6.99 and $8.99 per pound. Let’s think about all of the things available on the salad bar, from hard boiled eggs to sunflower seeds, and how much they weigh. One could boil an entire dozen eggs at home for what the price of one hard boiled egg when you’re paying $7.99 per pound.
First, let’s think of lettuce choice. The Spring Mix and/or Spinach weighs less than romaine. Not to mention how good it is for you, plus these “fancier” lettuce varieties are much cheaper on the salad bar than they are in the produce section. Iceberg and romaine are two of the cheapest lettuces to buy in produce, so grab the “fancier” and more light weight lettuce at the salad bar.
Sun dried tomatoes
Have you priced these on the shelf? While you can pick up a small bag of sun dried tomatoes for a small fortune, you could literally buy an entire pound at the salad bar for cheaper. An entire pound.
Almond slivers are not only a great topping for salads thanks to their crunch, high protein and good fats, but they weigh next to nothing. Have you priced the bagged almonds in the baking aisle? Holy moly! Even if you’re planning to bake with them, buying them off the salad bar will save you so much money its ridiculous. You’re welcome.
Mmmm, bacon. If you are lucky enough that your grocery store stocks real bacon bits on your salad bar – take advantage of that, yo! While a 3 oz container of pre-made bacon bits can cost upwards of $4 on the shelf, you could get 3 oz of bacon bits for just $1.49 on the salad bar (if $7.99 per pound). Sold!
Perfect for topping on Slow Cooker Potato Soup and baked potatoes, too!
In this house we love crumbled cheeses. Whether we’re talking Feta, Gorgonzola or Blue Cheese, adding just a bit to your salad takes it up a notch and weigh practically nothing.
Things to avoid:
Salad bar Salad dressing
If at all possible do not use the salad dressing provided at the salad bar. Think in terms of weight here. You would be better off using the salad dressing you have at home or in the fridge at work (or even buying a small bottle off the shelf!) than you would be paying $7.99 per pound for it.
If you must, use it sparingly.
Hard boiled eggs
With the price of eggs lately (some plummeting below $1 per dozen) you could literally buy and boil an entire dozen eggs for the price of ONE hard boiled egg on the salad bar. This way you can have more than one even. Scandalous.
While chicken salad is tasty, it is also heavy when you factor in the meat, the mayonnaise, the vegetables etc. Try to avoid chicken salad on the salad bar if possible.
I love pasta salad – don’t get me wrong. I’ve been known to go back for seconds (or thirds, shhh) but that too, is a heavier food. Save pasta salad for the BBQ, not the salad bar.
Beans are so cheap to purchase by the can, why pay $7.99 per pound for them? If you typically load up on beans at the salad bar, you might go ahead and get a cheap can in the canned foods aisle and use that for days.
What other salad bar hacks have I missed? Anything I must start buying or should stop immediately?
More saving hacks before you go:
How We Bought a Propane Grill for Just $4 + Tax
19 Secret Shopping Hacks for Saving Money Shopping at Kohl’s
16 Ways to Save at Michaels
16 Ways to Save Money Shopping at CVS
12 Creative Ways to Save on Pet Food