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Revolutionizing Salad

Okay, so I’ve always thought of salad as a health food.  It’s what I eat when I want to feel like I’m losing weight.  I usually end up feeling hungry soon afterward, because I’m an iceburg lettuce fan and, really, how can eating what is essentially just crunchy water keep you full?  It doesn’t.  At least it doesn’t for me.

And sometimes, I’ve even tried to go “fancy.”  Because, plain salads are not only un-filling, but so boring and tasteless!  So, I’ve tried to pick dressings I love and because I’m a texture person, I always have to add something crunchy (croutons are usually my crunch of choice) and sometimes I go really crazy and add some shredded cheese.  But, even then, I eat salad because it’s health food, not because I enjoy it.  It’s a diet food, meant to be some sort of sacrifice to show myself that to lose weight, I can give certain things up.  You know, like food I actually enjoy.

I have definitely enjoyed restaurant salads on occasion.  The ones that add super fun dressings and meats and crunchy things and cheese and a variety of other exciting stuff, but I almost never order them, because…well…I know that the other stuff adds calories.  And the purpose of eating salad is to not eat so many calories…right?

Chinese Chicken Salad

 And then I found this blog.  And I read this post.  This woman is incredible and has revolutionized the way I view salads.  I can’t even describe how she’s shattered the tiny little box in my mind that I kept the word “salad” locked up in.  You don’t have to put bottled dressing on a salad.  What?!  I mean, I know some people make their own dressing, but that seems like a lot of work, too.  But you can dress the salad with things that aren’t even labeled as “dressing”s?!  Think barbecue sauce or hummus or salsa or preserves….I love all of those things (albeit, not all together, but still…)!  Mind. blown.

AND, you can put fun stuff in it!  Like, real food: leftovers, meat, chili, stir fry, hard boiled eggs, rice, noodles…things I like eating!  Things that actually fill me up and keep me full!

The lettuce part, that’s not the main attraction!  Who knew?!  It’s just the stuff that fills you up even more while you’re eating the stuff you love.  And, when you add the other stuff on top of a salad, it actually makes a (delicious) balanced meal.  Meaning, it doesn’t matter that it is 400 or so calories, because I won’t have to eat again until dinner.  It’s a meal.  Not a diet food.  Not rabbit food.  Food food.   

So, of course, I read this post weeks ago and didn’t actually try it until this week.  And, let me tell you, I think this woman has just changed my life.

Salad #1 – Lettuce, snap peas, shredded carrots, cheddar cheese, leftover chicken-flavored noodles, Texas toast croutons, light ranch, and honey barbecue sauce

Salad #2 – Lettuce, diced red peppers, turkey pepperoni, light Babybel cheese, White Cheddar Goldfish, and pizza sauce

The Verdict: I actually looked forward to lunch.  They was delicious!  Both times.  It combined flavors and textures and foods that I absolutely love.  It was the ideal lunch (well…close.  Maybe if I’d added Cheetos or french fries…)!  I stayed full until dinner both days and I even went for a run in between!  I can’t get over how brilliant (and seemingly obvious) this idea is, but I can’t wait to keep utilizing it!  What an awesome way to better eat more vegetables, fill up on good-for-me foods, and use up those bits and pieces of leftovers in the fridge!  It’s a win-win-win! 

This Post Has One Comment
  1. I like adding a bit of unconventional add-ins to my salads too. I can 'steal' a 5 or 6 doritos from my kids, crush them and toss on top. I get plenty of crunch and don't feel deprived. Some of my other favorites are sunflower seeds, wheat thins (the new zesty salsa ones are really good - 10 calories per cracker), leftover chicken, tuna pouch, diced apple or pear, fresh berries. I make croutons from bread crusts - a quick spritz of cooking spray, sprinkle on some garlic powder or any spice and throw them in the oven for a few minutes. Oops I am a little long winded here!

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