Devour a Daily FITR Salad for Lunch Every Day- Why?
- It’s super healthy, and is only about 400 calories. With virtually all of your nutrient needs- including protein- it will give you the energy and alertness you need for the rest of your day.
- It will fill you up. Your stomach has stretch receptors that tell your body and brain that you have had enough. A FITR salad is BIG- it provides enough volume to trigger those receptors and signal satiety. A mere 100 calories is up to 7 cups of salad greens and veggies.
- You will feel great. As well as your satisfied tummy, your brain will be happier. If you eat a large McDonald’s fries (500 calories, fat, salt, very little volume), you will have a hard time resisting the office birthday cake at coffee break, because your brain thinks you are starving. If you have a big 400 calorie FITR salad, your brain receives the signals from the stretch receptors and knows that you have enough nutrients. You will be able to happily and rationally choose whether you want cake. (You will also feel happy because you are healthier, and your halo is nice and shiny!)
- A FITR salad is inexpensive, fast and easy. Once you get in the routine, you can mix up your salad fixings for the whole week and make your lunches in 5 minutes. And even if you eat all organic, it is cheaper than fast food.
- It is De-Licious!!! FITR Salads can be as varied as you like, and because you can eat so much, you will soon find that you are craving them for more than lunchtime.
Five Basic Rules to Construct an Amazing FITR Lunch Salad
This salad is for people who love food and don’t believe in depriving themselves. It takes your full lunch time to eat, and satisfies all your cravings- for crunch, slurp, sweet, sour, or umami. If you follow these rules, you will begin sneaking it in for dinner, for before-bed snacks, and maybe even for breakfast.
Rule 1: Make it really really BIG! Don’t skimp on the veggies. Dr. Joel Fuhrman recommends that a good healthy plant-strong diet should include 1 pound (16 oz.) of cooked veggies and one pound of raw veggies daily. The extra large plastic clamshell containers hold 10 oz. of salad greens and most people would have a hard time eating all that over 2 or 3 salads, so go ahead and make this salad as big as you want (I don’t know anyone who became overweight by eating too many raw veggies, do you?).
Rule 2: Find a bowl or container big enough for your salad, but with the right “feel”. Really. Eating is an emotional process and you are feeding your senses- if this is to become a comfort food, you want to find a favourite bowl for your salad. A bucket might work for size, but it doesn’t look very classy, and you want something shallow enough to get a good mix of ingredients- a family sized salad bowl is perfect for mine. (On the other hand, some days you might want your salad in a layered style, so in that case, a tall container might work well). If you are packing it to work, find a lidded container that is big enough for the greens, and use smaller containers for the other items (to avoid wilted greens).
Rule 3: Make your salad beautiful and daring. We like color in our food (that’s why candy is irresistible), so “eat the rainbow”. Take an idea from the beauty of Japanese bentos, and follow the principle of “goshiki”, or five colors. The five color groups the Japanese aim for are: red or orange, yellow, green, white, and black, dark purple or brown. Also, pay attention to your cravings and add different textures and flavours to your salad. Sweet fruit, sour pickles, leftover barbecued veggies (hot or cold), beans with hot sauce, seaweed, crunchy nuts, soft pasta- all of these can be added. The possibilities are endless.
Rule 4: Make it easy:
-Once you learn the formula, find an easy way to measure portions. Get the right sized containers and measure out the portions for a few days at a time. I have ten little plastic sauce containers that are perfect for holding a dozen almonds (80 calories). I buy a bag of unsalted nuts and fill all the containers. They are ready to toss into a lunch whenever I want. Bonus: I am not so tempted to snack mindlessly on the opened bag of nuts, as they are portioned out in containers and tucked away out of sight.
-Prepare for several days at once. I wash five days worth of greens on Sunday, and dry them well. There are green bags that claim to keep greens fresh longer, but I find it works just as well to wrap them in a towel or paper towel to absorb extra moisture (change the towel every few days).
-When cooking, always do double duty. I soak and cook enough beans for a dinner and several lunches at once and pack the lunch beans in ½ cup containers for my salads. Or, when I put away dinner leftovers, I pack some of them ready in ½ cup containers.
Rule 5: Get the biggest “goodness” punch possible: Go with local or organic produce when you can. It tastes better and is easier to prepare. It’s also healthier- why eat pesticides when you are trying to eat better? It’s not much more expensive any more, and the taste makes it worth more in my mind. Also, use unprocessed food when you can, for the same reasons. Find a few recipes for salad dressings* that you love and you will never want to use the commercial stuff again- honest!
Next: Get the recipe for the FITR Salad here.
* Check out other recipes in the blog for ideas for starred items.