Salad a Day keeps the Doctor Away
Apples are fine and dandy, but give me a salad chocked full of the good stuff any day of the week.
Salad are my go to food. When the rest of my healthy eating fails for the day I at least know I ate a salad, so it my eating couldn’t have been that bad right?
And I’m not talking about a blob of iceberg lettuce topped with shaved carrots, croutons and ranch dressing. No no no. Please those are the kind amateur salad makers create. Me, well I like to think of myself as a Salad Connoisseur. Sounds regal doesn’t it?
So how does one make a salad that will reform even the biggest lettuce haters of the world? Well friends let me tell you…
1. Planning is key!
A sandwich really only requires 3 ingredients: bread, meat, and some condiment. A good salad needs at least 5 ingredients. Sorry Albertson’s prepackaged salads you are basically crap, and a waste of money. At the store you need some lettuce (duh!), assortment of toppings, and different types of dressing. Here’s the kicker: once you buy everything you actually have to use it that week. If there is one thing I hate the more than food going to waste it’s the nasty smell that comes from bad lettuce. Yuck!
2. Get more bang for your buck when picking a lettuce
As a general rule, the darker the green the more nutrition rich. So swap that iceberg lettuce for some spinach or arugula to get a little more vitamins in your lunch. I was surprised to learn that romaine lettuce is a top contender in healthy lettuce choices with tons of Vitamin A and K in every cup. Pick whichever type of lettuce you like because it comes down to, are you actually going to eat it?
3. Mix up the toppings
I used to be so boring with my salad toppings: carrots, cucumbers, and maybe some cherry tomatoes with the same old Fat-free Italian dressing. After about a week of eating this I was bored out of my mind and craving my sandwiches again. So spice it up and explore what tastes best for you! Salad toppers I always have on hand are:
- baby carrots
- goat cheese or
- dried fruit (raisins, cranberries)
- fresh fruit (strawberries, blueberries, apples, pears)
- Red, yellow, and orange peppers
- Chopped red onion
- Nuts (sunflower, pine nuts)
- cherry tomatoes or TJ’s mini heirloom tomatoes
- Red kidney beans
Favorite Dressings (all from Trader Joe’s of course): Goddess dressing, Cranberry Walnut Gorgonzola, Champagne Pear Vinaigrette, Sesame Soy Vinaigrette, and of course good old Olive Oil and Balsamic
4. Prep, prep, prep
I hear so many people complain that bringing a salad to work takes too much time. If you chop all your veggies the night before then all your doing is throwing things in a bowl together that morning. Probably takes me less than 5 minutes to put my lunch together before I head off to work.
If you plan on bringing a salad to work everyday get a good salad and dressing container that makes it easy to transport everything. And don’t go little on these things either. I have a 5 cup container. It’s mostly filled with lettuce, but I say bigger the better because a small salad is only going to make you want something an hour after lunch.
5. Enjoy it!
If you think salads are “diet” foods then you probably aren’t going to be happy when eating them. If leafy greens are equated to deprivation then maybe eating a salad everyday isn’t for you. I always pair my salad with sort of carb (blue corn chips, pita bread) and a sweet (dark chocolate, dates) to balance out the meal. I love my carbs and my sweets, but I don’t feel guilty eating them with a salad. As with anything do what makes you and your stomach happy not what some diet cookbook says to do.
And because every Salad Connoisseur knows she can learn a thing or two from her friends I ask you:
Any other salad lovers out there?
What are your favorite salad toppings and combinations?