I eat salad for lunch almost daily. That started back in 2012 when a nutritionist told me lettuce was basically all I could eat because of my heart issues. She tossed out five pages of my favorite foods I’d brought to show her as all too high in salt, fat and sugar.
Eating salad every day can get boring fast, lettuce is little more than water in a green form, after all. So, over the years, I’ve come up with some ways to make my lunch salad more than just lettuce with olive oil and vinegar.
The start of any year is notorious for people resolving to lose some weight. Indeed, all the major weight-loss programs already are running ads to attract new clients this time of year.
Like millions of others, I’m resolving to drop some pounds this year too. But I don’t use any commercial diet plans. Rather, I merely need to return to what I was eating after having my first angioplasty in 2012.
Following that surgery, I dropped 25 pounds by cutting out everything I enjoyed — red meat, candy, cookies, doughnuts, cake, rich, creamy ethnic foods (think most things from Europe), high-salt ethnic foods (think anything from Asia).
Sadly, after three years of that, I began slipping back, mainly with M&Ms and cream-filled doughnuts, until, in 2017, I was forced to have a second angioplasty to open yet another blocked artery.
That second surgery really had me questioning whether changing my diet had any impact on my artery-health, since it seemed like the answer was a resounding no.
So for the past two years, I’ve been eating much more junk food than before and have gained back that 25 pounds I lost. That officially makes me a fat old man these days and I don’t like that image. So I’m starting all over again.
Here’s today’s lunch salad which I made at home. Restaurant salads are normally load with salt, fat and sugar, avoid them or strip them down to their basics if you must eat one.
I try to add as much as possible to the basic spring greens lettuce mix to give the salad some texture. Here’s a look at ingredients before I built the salad. The only thing missing in this photo is the turkey I put on. That’s leftover from our low-salt Christmas turkey.
The feta cheese is fat-free and the olives (in that black liquid) are low-salt. The beets are sold at Costco, they’re sealed and shelf-stable, not the jarred ones that are loaded with salt.
The mushrooms, tomatoes, cucumbers and even the lettuce mix were on sale at a local supermarket. Eating healthy is expensive, so always shop the sales each week to find deals.
I topped all this with olive oil (a so-called good fat) and balsamic vinegar.
The trick to keep salads from getting boring for those of us who eat a lot of them is to mix up the variety of items to add to the basic lettuce. This salad, using bibb lettuce along with radicchio, and asparagus, popped up recently in a Cooking Lightemail I receive and I thought it sounded worth sharing.
Ingredients are simple and easy to prepare (leave out the salt as we usually advise):
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons honey
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (who needs this)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups thinly sliced radicchio
1 cup diagonally sliced asparagus
1 head Bibb lettuce, leaves separated and torn (about 6 oz.)
See the word salad on a menu and you assume it’s got to be the healthiest thing on there, right? Wrong, unfortunately. Restaurants love to load up salads with any and every unhealthy thing, like fried foods, to destroy the basic salad.
WebMD recently ran this guide on what to avoid in restaurant salads. Basics you should already kn0w — avoid creamy dressings, croutons and lots of cheese on a salad, they’re all fat bombs waiting to destroy your insides.
Olive oil and vinegar is the best dressing option. I now carry my own with me because I’m continually surprised how many places don;t offer that as an option.
Fresh peaches are a wonderful summer treat, why not combine them with cucumbers for something different? “The combination of sweet, fragrant peaches and crunchy, hydrating cucumbers works weirdly well,” writes Andy Baraghani in Bon Apettit. The recipe is inspired by street vendor offerings he saw in Mexico, he explains. So his recipe involves hot sauce and chiles. Continue reading “A funky summer take on a cucumber salad”→
July 4th was a cookout day for us, as it was for many, many Americans. In addition to grilling salmon and extra-lean beef burgers, we made a variety of cold salads that I thought I’d blog about so you can enjoy them too. The first involved tomatoes, cucumbers and red onions along with cheese. Here’s a link to the the original recipe my wife found.
Sometimes, you just want a great salad for lunch, one that isn’t loaded up with a lot of the unhealthy items most restaurants put on them so they can think they’re being creative and charge you more in the process.
That’s why I prefer make-your-own salad bars, I can pick — and pay for — only the ingredients I want, avoiding any high in salt or fat. Knowing my salad bar preference, my daughter found a really good one for us to have lunch at during my recent Portland, Ore., trip — the Garden Bar.
Leg of lamb was the Easter Sunday dinner I was cooking back in 1986 when my father died of a heart attack at my home. I’ve seldom cooked it since, and not at all in the past three years since my surgery.
Lamb aside, hats off to Bon Appetit for this roundup.
Lettuce is something I eat daily since my angioplasty in 2012. A salad is my normal lunch when working at home, or eating away from home.
I generally buy a spring mix of various lettuce types at Costco or elsewhere if I see the one–pound box on sale. I also buy baby romaine hearts at Costco which can be used in place fo taco shells for some reformulated Mexican meals.
Is all lettuce the same? Not exactly, says fitness expert Jillian Michaels, the former Biggest Loser trainer. The greener the leaves, the healthier, she says. Iceberg lettuce gets a bad rap from her, and a lot other nutrition experts. It was the only kind of lettuce I ate as a kid, I miss it these days.
Jillian suggests mixing the lettuce types you have for some variety. It’s all green stuff to me.