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5 Salad-Free Ways to Eat More Raw Food

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Photo by Amber Shea Ford

Increasing your intake of raw foods might feel like quite an undertaking. But a diet high in raw foods doesn’t have to be difficult, dull or pricey. In fact, you don’t need fancy equipment, expensive ingredients, or—heaven forbid—an endless parade of salads in order to incorporate more raw foods into your meals. Here are a few painless ways to work raw foods into your everyday diet.

1. Snack on fruit.

Instead of hitting the vending machine to cure a mid-afternoon slump, grab an apple, banana, pear or any other portable, handheld fruit. In a pinch, if there’s no fresh fruit to be found, eat a handful of raisins.

2. Replace chips and crackers with crudités.

Crudité is just a fancy word for “snackable raw vegetable.” Next time you’re jonesing for something crunchy to pair with hummus, salsa, guacamole or any other dip, choose carrots, celery or sliced red bell pepper instead of greasy, sodium-laden chips or crackers.

3. Drink a smoothie for breakfast.

All you need is a blender—no matter how small or cheap—to whip up a frosty, fruity shake. Blend together almond milk (or any other nondairy milk), a banana (frozen, if desired) and some fresh or frozen fruit (mixed berries are my favorite!), and ta-da—you’ve started your day with a raw breakfast containing two servings of fruit. For an even richer dose of energizing vitamins, include a handful of spinach leaves.

4. Garnish with raw nuts and seeds.

Top your stir fry with sesame seeds or raw cashews, throw a few raw macadamia nuts into your oatmeal, add sunflower seeds or chopped raw walnuts to a veggie side dish or salad, or sprinkle crushed raw pecans on just about any dessert.

5. Top pasta with a raw sauce.

Pasta is a wonderful vehicle for flavorful raw sauces. Try making a quick cheeseless pesto (fresh basil, fresh parsley, raw pine nuts, olive oil, and sea salt) or a deconstructed raw marinara (halved cherry tomatoes, minced garlic, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and sea salt) for your next spaghetti night.

Eating raw is easy when you make incremental changes. And, worst comes to worst, you can always go ahead and eat a salad!

Amber Shea Crawley, creator and author of the popular food blog Chef Amber Shea, is a classically trained chef, linguist, and writer in Kansas City, Missouri. Specializing in healthful, plant-rich food, she is the author of the cookbooks Practically Raw and Practically Raw Desserts as well as the ebook The REAL FOOD Cleanse. Amber blogs at and can also be found on Facebook and Twitter (@ChefAmberShea).