One of my weight-loss/weight-management/healthy eating secrets is my lunchtime salad ritual.
Like many people, my weight fluctuates, especially when I lapse into poor eating habits and end up eating too many processed foods. Yes, I have my weaknesses — mostly around desserts!
So I try to follow a routine that includes a salad for lunch. I believe it can be an enormous quantity of food, as long as it is based in a leafy green and is mostly vegetables, nuts and seeds. The other 20-30% can be protein, grains and/or fruits.
Sometimes I chop up the leftovers from my Glorious One-Pot Meal the previous night and add a bunch of fresh lettuce and a vinaigrette.
The fresh greens are important as they provide enzymes our digestive systems need to function effectively. Anything other than iceberg lettuce is suitable. I like to switch things around between various types of lettuce, spinach, kale and chard.
The other day I received a bag of fresh tomatoes from my mother. I had a ripe avocado and some beautiful green leaf lettuce for a base. A monster cucumber from my garden that I’ve been trying to work our way through contributed green-jacketed cubes of creamy white. These were my vegetables and fruits.
Poor avocados: They got a terrible rap during the fat-phobic 80’s. The truth is that avocados are full of unsaturated fats, the kind we need to cushion our organs, feed our brains, and give us healthy skin and shiny hair. Avocados are one of nature’s most perfect foods: you can live off avocados and water for quite some time. They were one of the first foods I fed my babies when they began to eat. At some point, we’ll talk about making your own babyfood, but that’s another post.
Then I added my toppings to my salad.
Annie’s Naturals Shitake & Sesame Vinaigrette has been a favorite since I first discovered it in the early 90’s. Vinaigrettes are usually a healthier choice than creamy dressings laden with saturated fats. When looking for a vinaigrette, choose one without any trans-fats, artificial sugars or artificial flavors.
And then the seeds. Sunflower seeds make any salad into a party! I buy mine in the bulk food bins at the health food grocery store.
I keep a variety of yummy toppings in cannisters on my counters not only for convenient additions to my salads, but a handful often makes a great snack, too. Besides sunflower seeds, you’ll see roasted pumpkin seeds (shelled and unshelled, some flavored with teriyaki), dried cranberries, dried currents, sun-dried tomatoes (not the kind in oil; these come packed in vacuum-sealed bags), pistacios, shelled almonds, sesame sticks, and various other goodies that catch my fancy.
Oh yes, and did you notice what’s floating inside my water glass? It’s a cucumber slice! Cucumber-infused water is unbelievably refreshing. I first learned of it in a fun little modern-Vietnamese restaurant in Denver called Parallel 17.