I'm a sucker for a nice bowl of mac and cheese, a 'potle burrito or a big, juicy burger, and thankfully, STL has no shortage of these. Although devouring such indulgent meals might be great in the moment, afterward, I often don't feel like the best version of myself. Recently, I've been trying to remedy this by exchanging one of my calorie-packed favorites for a salad every now and then. Having encountered my fair share of salads that are just straight-up depressing, I went on a mission to find the best salads in St. Louis — ones that wouldn't have me force-feeding myself every bite. 

The list below of delicious and creative salads in St. Louis is organized from least to most expensive. Being healthy is hard, but these 11 gorgeous salads are making it a whole lot easier.

1. The Strawberry Fields Salad at Sauce on the Side - $6 small, $9 large

Ingredients: mixed greens, strawberries, feta cheese, red onion, sage, mint, candied walnuts and white balsamic vinaigrette dressing

According to many Yelp reviewers, the dressing is to die for and perfectly balances the creamy feta and sweet strawberries. Even though you might have seen this ingredient combo before, this salad is truly a summer classic that has yet to get old.

#SpoonTip: You can also make your own version of this salad with this similar Spoon recipe.

2. The Mexicali Salad at Wicked Greenz - $6.25 small, $8.50 regular

Ingredients: Romaine lettuce, calypso black beans, red onion, fire-grilled sweet corn, cilantro, pico de gallo, pepper-jack cheese, crispy tortilla strips, avocado lime crema and charred tomato vinaigrette

Chef Justin Haifley told St. Louis Magazine that each ingredient in the salad is expertly cut to maximize taste and texture. You're left with a refreshing mix of Southwestern flavors that don't overpower each other. And even the chef says it's his favorite thing on the menu.

3. The Little Gem Salad (+ bacon) at Union Loafers - $7 side, $10 full

Ingredients: mixed greens, breadcrumbs, shallots, herbs and buttermilk dressing

A flavor-packed salad that will have you dipping "everything you own into the leftover dressing," according to the chef, Brian Lagerstrom (Sauce Magazine). Simplicity is the name of the game here, but I think you'll find that there's nothing truly lacking, thanks to the strong flavor profile of the shallots and herbs.

#SpoonTip: Make sure you order it with bacon. It provides the perfect pop of texture and will taste delicious coated in the creamy dressing.

4. The Kale Salad appetizer at Planter's House - $7

Ingredients: kale, olives, chilies, garlic, pecorino, a six-minute egg and artichoke vinaigrette

What might sound like a heavy, stomach-filling salad is actually perfectly portioned into an appetizer-sized dish and tossed with a surprisingly light, citrus-y dressing. According to Yelp user Christy A., the egg on top was like "icing on the cake" for this already delightful salad.

5. The Grounds Salad at Foundation Grounds - $8.29

Ingredients: spinach, candied pecans, feta, marinated red onions, sliced pears and Balsamic vinaigrette

Foundation Grounds is known for its coffee and sandwiches, but "The Grounds" salad, which won Riverfront Times' Best Salad award in 2012, is a total must-try. RFT's review notes the salad's particularly tangy dressing and the complementary textures of the pecans and red onions. This one's another simple and often-used flavor profile, but done exceptionally well.

6. The Spinach and Beet Salad at Scarlett's Wine Bar - $8.50

Ingredients: baby spinach, red and golden beets, toasted walnuts, shredded Manchego cheese and a white balsamic vinaigrette

Light and sweet, the dressing on this one offers the perfect compliment to the fresh beets and crunchy walnuts. The Manchego also adds a rich, full-bodied flavor and a pop of protein that turns this salad into a real stand-alone meal.

#SpoonTip: Did you know that Manchego cheese is produced in the La Mancha region of Spain from unpasteurized sheep's milk? Cheeses that are similar in flavor and texture include Pecorino Romano and Asiago.

7. The Citrus Salad at Cafe Osage - $10

Ingredients: arugula, mint, oranges, red onion, almonds, goat cheese and lemon vinaigrette

A perfect summery salad with just the right amount of fruity and fresh flavors. The slight bitterness of the arugula is offset by the sweetness of the oranges and goat cheese, and the mint offers a refreshing touch that nicely ties the whole thing together.

8. The Tunapalooza Salad at Crushed Red - $10.50

Ingredients: mixed greens, seared ahi tuna, green beans, Kalamata olives, hard-boiled egg, tomato, roasted Yukon Gold potatoes, goat cheese and goddess dressing

Ahi tuna lovers unite for this salad — a take on the classically French niçoise salad. With the perfect mix of fish, starch, egg and greens, this meal is sure to get you full and keep you that way.

9. The Breakfast Salad at Whitebox Eatery - $10.95

Ingredients: arugula, poached eggs, roasted potato, bacon, roasted red pepper, crispy onions, feta and creamy herb dressing

A unique and healthy breakfast option, this creative salad is "a delicious mix of flavors and textures with a creamy dressing," says Wash U sophomore Julia Norman. So you can get all your favorite breakfast foods in one meal and still be able to say that you "just went for the salad."

10. The Chopped Salad at Rooster South Grand - $13

Ingredients: smoked salmon, pepitas, dried cherries, marinated romas, couscous, arugula, freeze-dried corn and basil ranch

Tasty salad or masterpiece of abstract art? Can something possibly be both? This deconstructed take on a chopped salad offers an array of contrasting elements: "sweet against salty, crunchy versus squishy, concentration alongside subtlety," says Joe Bonwich of St. Louis Magazine.

11. The Fried Artichoke Salad at Katie's Pizza and Pasta - $15

Ingredients: spring mix, artichokes, pistachio, goat cheese, asparagus and balsamic vinaigrette

This hearty salad is "a balancing act of temperatures and textures," according to Meera Nagarajan of Sauce Magazine. Although the total combo of ingredients are palate-pleasing and flavorful, Nagajaran says that the fried artichokes "blooming in hot oil," are the real stars. According to the restaurant, it's by-far the most popular salad on the menu.

With these flavorful, filling salads right here in St. Louis, you no longer have to eat what looks like a plate of plain leaves if you're trying to be healthy. The next time you find yourself at one of these restaurants, I challenge you to choose a salad in place of your go-to. At the very least, I guarantee you'll feel 100 percent better than you do after scarfing down a huge Chipotle burrito.