Welcome to an actual WIAW post! I haven’t really participated in this tradition much lately, but this week I think I have some good stuff to share! Hopefully you all agree and can totally jazz up your lunch boxes, or dinners with a few new ideas!
Let me just start by saying I love a good salad.
I always have! And although many people frown upon eating salads in ED recovery, since they supposedly fill you up on too few calories, I still believe vegetables and some good healthy fix-ins are completely appropriate and necessary for a good healthy body.
Now before I continue, I will say, in my worst ED days, a salad to me consisted of lettuce and vinegar…MAYBE a tomato thrown in there for good measure, and an ounce or two of protein.
That is not a salad, or a meal, and is NOT a good source of fuel for anyone, let alone someone trying to overcome restrictive behaviors. BUT, in the last few weeks I have tried to branch out a bit, enhance my greens and increase variety in my diet.
I don’t photograph my food often, primarily because I don’t need to re-live my meals after they are consumed…hello, they are sometimes hard enough to deal with, but I am hoping my explanations will be enough to inspire you to customize your bowls as you see fit! The more color the better!
Step 1: Start with a good base!
I almost always use a mix of lettuces and spinach. I LOVE the Dole Sweet Butter Blend and since it has been buy one get one free at my supermarket, I have at least four bags on hand at all times, but there are other things that can really add flavor to the greens.
This might sound weird, but try adding spaghetti squash to your mix. It sort of tastes like a bulked up noodle bowl, and adds a nice texture that I am really enjoying lately!
*Other delectable veggies!
Mann’s Brocolli slaw, ROASTED vegetable mixes of broccoli, asparagus, baby carrots (roast these babies immediately…delicious!) peppers, tomatoes, or even just an array of raw stuff you can already find in your produce drawer, can really make the flavor profile pop.
Plus, it looks pretty! Don’t they say we eat with our eyes first?
Chopped watchers, you know they do!
Step 2: Pick a Protein
When I say protein, I do not mean one slice of turkey.
I used to try that trick too, and so sorry but you aren’t cheating anyone but yourself because you will be ready to eat your arm off in an hour.
For my most recent salads there are two things I have been rotating between…
All flavors of these links are amazing, but I had a pack of Sweet Italian Pepper in my freezer and thought they would be great to pull out while I am making a ton of solo meals. I was absolutely right because they are amazing on salads, in stir-frys, on homemade flat breads, etc. Super versatile, and amazingly delicious!!
I have told you all before I am a HUGE fan of Perdue products.
I really like their Perfect Portion varieties, especially the Italian Seasoned, but my mom brought home an Oven Ready Roaster a few weeks ago and I was amazed at how a meal including this bird basically took care of itself.
All I had to do was pre-heat my oven, cut a slit it in the bag, and open the door when the timer went off.
There was virtually no clean up, and the meat was SO moist and tasty.
Similarly to the Al Fresco listed above, these are also pretty darn resourceful because I made a ton of different meals utilizing the left-overs; wraps, sandwiches, salads, pasta for my sister and Ryan…
Quick, no mess, and multi-purpose…both products get a huge recommendation from me!
Of course there are other protein options too; eggs, egg whites, veggie burgers, steak, tuna…
I mean, the list is endless, but for me, selecting two meats that I don’t cook everyday, has really made my salads more satisfying.
Step 3: Add Some Staying Power
You all know fats were my arch enemy.
I tried to avoid them at all costs, but as my hair continues to fall out, and my skin remains dry, fats and I have decided to become much more comfortable with one another.
Not to mention there are a TON of benefits to adding some healthy fats to your menu….brain power, organ protection…the yummy flavor…
*Hummus is one of my all time favorite ingredients to add to anything, and as a salad topper it is excellent. So many brands make awesome varieties and the creamy texture is tremendous mixed with the veggies. Honestly, it makes a pretty great dressing!
I really like nuts on my salad. I love that they add a great crunchy texture and can either provide sweetness or salt to a sometimes-bland bowl. Try a seasoned assortment and I promise it will not disappoint.
I am really not a fan of cheese, BUT last week for some reason I picked up The Laughing Cow Swiss wedges. Like hummus, this soft cheese can give greens a rich, creamy flavor that is surprisingly fabulous.
Every salad this week has contained one of these little triangles and my taste-buds have been happy.
Step 4: Additions
If you would have asked me 2 months ago, any addition outside of a vegetable was absolutely OUT of the question…unnecessary calories! But that is no longer the case.
This week especially I have been enjoying a wide array of fruit thrown into my Tupperware.
The combination of Swiss Cheese, Pear and Balsamic is fantastic!
Pineapples with Newman’s Own Low Fat Sesame Ginger…WOW!
And Apples with Trader Joes Sweet Hot Mustard (I use this as a dressing because it is SO good) add a complex flavor and just enough crunch.
This makes me want to go have a salad right now…fortunately I have a pretty awesome veggie combo in my lunch sack right now!
I hope this provided you with some new ways to enjoy your greens. Salads can be nutritious, delicious and a great component of ANY balanced lifestyle, but contrary to my old belief, lettuce and vinegar, does not count.