So.... salads are shit. Let's be honest. There is nothing exciting about a bowl full of foliage unless it has been dressed up with some amazing toppings and sauces. Salads are like the meal equivalent of going to the dentist; You don't really want to go through with it, but you know it's good for you and you convince yourself it's not going to be that bad and then it ends up being the worst and you are left feel bitter and jaded and even less likely to put yourself through it again in the future. Suffice to say, I hate salad. "But I love salad!" I hear you say. NO YOU DON'T!
We all love the thought of a nice cold bowl of wellness for lunch, fuelled by the motivational visualisations of our future bikini bods. Then come 3 o'clock when we are freakin starving because we essentially ate a bowl of water as a meal! We go in search of a healthy snack to get us through to dinner time... so we devour 5 protein balls, a packets of veggie chips, a sugar free donut and half a bag of carrot sticks with peanut butter before we feel any sense of satiety. "But all those snacks are healthy!" I hear you cry. YES THEY ARE! But! They are also high in calories. Delicious and full of energy boosting nutrients, yes! But the word "energy", when used in reference to a healthy snack, essentially means "This snack (singular!) has enough calories to fuel your body until your next meal break". You know what doesn't have enough calories to get you through to your next meal break? Salad!
But it's not all bad news! "Wellness Bowls" are very on trend at the moment (even though if you look at them closely you will notice that they are the Ikea of salads! Here is a bowl full of overpriced salad ingredients. You have to mix it together yourself. Enjoy!). Whilst I'm not a huge fan of paying top dollar for a deconstructed garden salad, what I do enjoy about wellness bowls is their ability to pass as a healthy and balanced meal. By adding a hit of protein and healthy fats to the foliage mix, you are coming away from the experience feeling like you consumed something of substance (and flavour!). Keep in mind the "max out on salad" rule doesn't apply once you start adding the extra calories to your bowl, BUT you will see your manic snacking take a significant dip when your tummy is busy processing useful, energising nutrients.
Here is a list of salad betterer's for anyone who is feeling a salad frenzy coming on:
Healthy Proteins: Grilled Chicken, Turkey Mince, Tuna, Sauteed Mushrooms, Boiled Egg
Healthy Fats: Cashews, Seeds, Avocado, Nut Butter/Sauce (homemade), Healthy Oils
Healthy Carbs: Brown Rice, Brown Pasta, Vegetable based Pasta, Wholegrain Cous Cous, Quinoa, Lentils
Here is a recipe for a not so shit salad, inspired by the Indonesian dish "Gado Gado"
Note: this recipe makes approximately a shit tonne of salad so you can enjoy it for a week's worth of lunches or share it with your salad loving buddies!
Not Shit Salad ala Gado Gado
Head of iceberg lettuce (roughly chopped)
Small bag of baby spinach leaves
Bag of Bean Sprouts
Packet of Snowpea Sprouts Packet of Alfalfa Sprouts Packet of mixed legumes
1 Carrot (grated)
1/2 Red Capsicum (finely diced)
1 Cucumber (sliced)
2 Boiled Eggs (quartered)
2 Chicken Breasts (diced)
Tbs Olive Oil
1/2 cup Natural Peanut Butter
1/4 tsp Sesame Oil
270ml Can of Lite Coconut Milk
Tbs Ketap Manis
Squeeze of Lime Juice
Note: If you hate yourself and enjoy the taste of burning pain, feel free to add chilli to both the salad and the sauce.
1. Heat oil in pan and cook chicken until browned. Set aside to cool slightly.
2. Combine all dressing ingredients in a saucepan and stir over a low heat until smooth and creamy. Set aside to cool slightly.
3. Combine salad leaves, sprouts, carrot and capsicum in a large salad bowl and mix well. Garnish with eggs and cucumber.
4. Serve salad topped with a handful of chicken and 2-3 Tbs peanut sauce dressing.
5. Enjoy! Like for reals. Because this salad is actually not shit.
So there you have it. Salad is not the enemy. I still won't go to the dentist however. But that is another blog for another day.