Wednesday, May 7, 2014

A Big Salad? Get Real!

One of my favorite things to eat for lunch lately is a salad.  If this sounds boring to you or you think you might be really hungry if all you have is a salad for lunch, I'd say, you just need to make a better salad.  The effort it takes to throw one together is minimal.  I suggest that if you don't buy the triple washed spring mixes or something of that variety, wash your lettuce when you get it home from the store so it's clean and ready to go when you want it.  I'm definitely guilty of forgoing a salad because I didn't feel like dealing with washing lettuce and it being all wet or getting out the salad spinner and blah blah blah.  Do it when you have the time and its done. Simple.  If your salad is going to be your whole meal, make it substantial.
Add leftover steak or chicken, you don't need much when you're tossing it with all kinds of veggies, nuts, seeds, fruit and or cheese.  What you don't want to do is go out and buy a big salad loaded with sodium and calories like those sited in this article 20 Salads worse than a Whopper from Men's Health.  Holy cow! If you think you're eating smart when you order one of these big salads you're in for a big surprise.  Applebee's has a Grilled Shrimp and Spinach salad that has 1010 calories and 2650mg of sodium! Whaaaat?  The Oriental Chicken salad has less sodium but even more calories.  I'm not going to list them all, you can see them for yourself in the link but I do feel the need to mention the Cheesecake Factory has a Santa Fe salad with 1720 calories and the worst on the list was the Santa Fe salad at T.G..I Friday's with 1830 calories!!! That's pretty much what I eat in a day...and I eat quite a bit of food!
You want something Santa Fe ish? Lettuce, tomato, avocado, fresh cilantro, a little cheddar cheese will be fantastic.  Add a couple of ounces of chicken dress it with a little olive oil and a squeeze of lime and you've got one fantastic salad at around 400 calories and no added sodium.
Add a couple of slices of deli turkey and some almonds to a salad mix things up a bit.  Fresh dill or basil go a long way in creating big flavor in a big salad and far less damaging than a fatty, MSG ridden salad dressing.
Having fresh herbs is a great way to flavor all kinds of food not just salads.  Again, wash them when you get them home and then store in the fridge in a plastic bag with a damp paper towel.  These are good for a week and a half easily.  Here I have dill, cilantro and parsley.
I made this one last week, 3 cups of spring mix, 2 oz ham off the bone, a carrot, half of a tomato, 3 scallions, a tablespoon of sunflower seeds, a tablespoon of crumbled bleu cheese, fresh dill and dressed with a teaspoon of olive oil and some red wine vinegar.  Delish, and coming in around 300 calories.  A hard boiled egg would have been a nice addition for 70 more calories.
I'm not normally a calorie counter but I wanted to show you the difference between those crazy restaurant salads and my super yummy also very big salads.  I have a hearty appetite and I am perfectly satisfied with this lunch.  There are so many combinations to make, add chick peas, cucumbers, strawberries or oranges.  Add meat, skip the meat, either way you can make a nice, healthy quality lunch to keep you fueled through the day.
Feta and bleu cheese are great choices because a little bit goes a long way. Add spicy peppers to keep it interesting.
It only takes a few minutes to whip one up.  Your body will thank you for staying out of the drive through!

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