Let me start by saying I love pizza and hamburgers as much as the next person. My clothing isn’t as forgiving if I maintain a fast food diet. To balance eating healthy with eating more indulgently, I stick to eating healthy at work. If I take the time to prep my lunch I’m less likely to end up in a drive-thru when I get hungry.
Each week I challenge myself to bring my lunch four of the five days to work. Salads are usually my go-to lunch of choice. I know, insert “Ugh-gross-disgusted-face” when you read salad but the options to making a tasty and fulfilling salad are limitless.
Fresh vegetables do not stay fresh forever. On weeks I buy fresh produce, I’m also challenging myself to eat everything before it turns into a fuzzy science project in the back of my refrigerator. Have you ever bought a rock-hard avocado and the next day it’s turned into a ball of mush? So frustrating! As we strive to keep our resolutions of healthy eating at the forefront of our minds; let me share my basic formula for creating my salads.
There are a multitude of options but any great salad usually starts with a leafy green. I keep things easy. A package of Spring Mix has a variety of flavors that pair with any additional add-ins. Spinach leaves add a bit of bitterness, while Arugula adds a sharp spicy flavor to keep the salad base from becoming boring. When I’m looking for additional unexpected flavor, sautéed Brussel Sprouts make for one of my favorite salad bases.
I like to think of the ingredients I add to my salad base in two categories: Crunchy Textures & Soft Textures. Crunchy textures make the salad feel more substantial. Oftentimes, at the end of the week when my Spring Mix is sparse, these crunchy vegetables can stand alone as a mixed vegetable salad. Additionally, they will remain fresh longer and can be used for other meals throughout the week. My favorite crunchy add-ins from this category are nuts and seeds, along with matchstick carrots.
The soft creamy textures are my favorite part of building any salad. It’s important not to be too heavy-handed with soft textures. These elements coat each vegetable with added flavor. Adding too much can make the salad lose the crispness. I try to limit myself to only adding two from this category; I usually stick with a hard-boiled egg and cheese (goat cheese to be more specific). These flavors play well with any dressing and amplify the entire salad. Soft textures are a salad’s best friend; they are there to hype it up and be there when you need them, not to overpower the greatness of the other ingredients.
I use this glass salad bowl from target to keep my portions consistent throughout the week. The domed lid adds extra space for shaking up the ingredients and the glass bottom does not adsorb stains or smells. Eating healthily and taking time to prep meals ahead of time takes effort. My tips for success are cutting some of your vegetables for the week ahead of time. Making the salad building process seem less like a process. Lastly, if I take the time to bring my lunch, I stick to it (even if I’m craving a spice chicken sandwich).
Did you have eating healthy on your resolutions checklist? How’s it going so far?