After gaining my "freshman 15" in college, I realized that I really needed to start paying better attention to my choices. I was drawn to the University of Alabama Recreational Center for exercise, but ultimately I needed to take a look at the food pyramid more closely. The all-you-can-eat campus buffets meant pizza, hamburger, french fries, chinese, italian, and you can't forget a bowl of ranch on the side of everything! Yup, I knew I had to change.
Fast forward to now, I can proudly say that I often times look forward to a good salad! Why is that? Well, let me share a quick story before I tell you the secret to how I enjoy my salads.
During the summer as a teenager, Mom used to drop me off at the LJCC pretty frequently. I'm proud to say that I was a J "brat"--I would hang out at the pool, gym, or lobby with friends until the day was over. I enjoyed it, but sometimes being a J "brat" meant hanging out with kids who were so bored that they would get into trouble. Hence where the brat title came from. Mom and I came up with a plan to keep me occupied and out of Ms. Betty's office. I could invite a friend to come with me and (with her parent's permission) we could walk to Bruno's (just over a mile away), get a salad from the salad bar, and then walk back. Don't ask me why--but I have very fond memories of doing this--and I'm sure mom only let me do it a few times.
Do you ever get a giddy feeling inside when you get to a salad bar? My brain screams "look at all these awesome toppings you can put on your greens!!" I know some of you must be able to relate to me. Am I going to put sliced eggs, nuts, mushrooms, tomatoes, olives, baby corns, beets, or cottage cheese on my salad today? Whatever you want is what my body gives me permission to do. Of course, I realize that everything in moderation is what I have to decide. Especially when it comes to dressing. If I'm going to glop a lot of ranch or blue cheese on my salad, then my healthy choices are shot--but if I can decorate my greens with other things that I love the taste of....well, I love the taste of them! Why do I need salad dressing?
Have you figured out my secret yet?
I keep the tasty ingredients in my fridge that I love to decorate my salad with! As long as I'm going to make myself a healthy lunch, I might as well enjoy it. I like to keep jarred marinated veggies such as kalamata olives, green olives, hearts of palm, and banana peppers, Fresh veggies often include tomatoes, avocados, cucumbers, peppers, and onions. Each have such distinctive tastes and I really enjoy savoring them with the spinach/spring mix that I want to get into my system.
If I can plan ahead, I try to have a protein with it: grilled chicken, chicken salad, pimiento cheese, cottage cheese, or eggs.
On my way home from Parent & Baby Yoga, I realized I had lots of tasty toppings ready to eat today. Once Sol was down for a nap, I put my delicious salad together. I added a small amount of flax seeds and hemp oil to the top and voila--a filling lunch! If people think I'm a 'nutty rabbit' because of this, I'll take it! I feel good about myself and in return that makes me happy. Win-win for Caleigh!
What tasty toppings do you like to put on your salad??
Don't think you have time to put together your salad? My co-blogger Brittany has another great suggestion to eating healthy--Salad In a Jar!