Yes, that’s right—breakfast salads! They’re a thing, and they’re fantastic. If this concept is new to you, just hear me out, please. A salad in the morning is a great way to work in a serving or two of veggies (or whole grains, or fruit—more to come in this series!) right off the bat. They’re light, fresh, and balanced, preventing that all-too-familiar carb/sugar overload that’ll have you crashing an hour or two later.

For me, the breakfast salad is ideal because I’ve never been too fond of traditional breakfast foods. I just have a few guidelines for how to build a great one:

 In general, avoid really strong flavors. A mouthful of raw garlic isn’t exactly what most folks take to first thing in the morning.

 Be sure to include protein and fat for satiety. That protein can come in the form of an egg, a little cheese, some leftover bacon, a sprinkle of nuts, a pile of canned beans, or a bed of whole grains. Unsaturated fats (think olive and nut oils, avocado, or nuts) are ideal and go a long way to keeping you satisfied longer.

 Keep it fast and simple. This is breakfast, after all, and on weekdays you don’t have time to fuss with a lot of prep. I’ve strived to keep things nice and easy.

 Pay attention to texture. Ideally your salad will include something crispy-crunchy, creamy-silky, juicy-fresh, and/or meaty-chewy.

 Vary the base. Sometimes, go with greens. Other days, opt for beans, whole grains, or shredded or chopped fresh veggies.

Quinoa-Blueberry Breakfast BowlHere's a great way to use up leftover cooked quinoa! A little bit of fragrant lemon rind adds just a whisper of sweetness to complement the tart-sweet berries. If you'd like a little more overt sweetness, you can add 1 teaspoon honey to the dressing (it'll add about 20 calories).

1 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice1/8 teaspoon kosher salt1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper1 cup lightly packed baby arugula1/2 cup cooked quinoa1/2 cup fresh blueberries1 ounce goat cheese, crumbled

1. Combine first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Place arugula in a separate bowl; drizzle with 1 teaspoon dressing, and toss to coat.2. Add quinoa and berries to bowl with dressing; toss gently to combine. Arrange arugula and quinoa mixture in a shallow bowl; top with cheese.

SERVES 1CALORIES 296; FAT 14.9g (sat 5.1g, mono 6.3g, poly 1g); PROTEIN 11g; CARB 32g; FIBER 5g; CHOL 13mg; IRON 2mg; SODIUM 357mg; CALC 95mg

More Breakfast Salads: