A few days ago I was called into an office last minute, so I grabbed a quick pre-packed salad for my lunch. On the surface it sounded pretty promising – Mediterranean chicken salad with a tomato basil sauce and buckwheat pasta. It didn’t live up to expectations.
Dry chicken, limp pasta, and a sickly sweet dressing. It was truly disappointing and I sat there eating it because I kind of had to and thinking about how many other people bought the same salad that day. How many other people were equally as let down by it.
Salad can be delicious
Salad can be truly magnificent. Ever since I started this fitness journey, I’ve become something of a salad evangelist. It’s so versatile, tasty, and of course, healthy. By just changing a few toppings, a few of the leaves, throwing in some herbs or a different dressing, you end up with a whole different meal. You can get amazing bursts of flavour, freshness, crunch, and all sorts of textures.
But not in this salad.
This salad was depressing. Not just because it was pretty much tasteless (save for the sickly sweet dressing). But also because I thought of how many people were getting started on their fitness journey and had eaten that salad and been put off by it. When eating it, I felt like I was missing out. That’s a surefire way to knock someone off track.
It’s all about experimenting
Salad is amazing, you just have to experiment with it and try different combinations out. After my experience with this pre-made salad, I’m pretty much going to stick to homemade. It’s only with homemade salad that you can control what you put in and how much of it. I don’t just mean that in a calorie counting way, but also in a taste way. If you love something, then you can always sprinkle a bit more of it on your salad.
Of course, there are times when you might not be able to make your own (although meal prepping can help with this!). On those occasions, finding a nice independent place that offers salads is often your best bet as it’s pretty close to homemade. I’m also partial to Pure, Eat, and occasionally Pret’s salads. My disappointing salad wasn’t from one of those places!
Keep it varied
Make sure you keep your salads varied so you don’t get bored. That’s one of the great things about it – there are lots of different flavour combos out there. I’m going through a rice and salad phase at the moment, there’s something about the crunchiness of lettuce combined with the softness of rice that makes me drool. I also enjoy smoked salmon, lime and chilli prawns, and roast chicken salads. Toasted chickpeas, seeds and nuts, or oven-baked croutons can add some more crunch to your lunch.
Also, try cutting your lettuce etc. in a slightly different way. It can make a big difference! Slicing ingredients like cabbage or lettuce very thinly makes it taste and feel different to when it’s chunky (I like both). Then there’s dressing. I usually enjoy a simple olive oil and vinegar combo, or lime with chilli and fish sauce. There’s a lot of different recipes out there, so experiment to find which one you love the most.
Food is incredibly important to your overall wellbeing and also enjoyment. So don’t settle for mediocre meals. It’ll make your fitness journey a whole lot harder.