May 19, 2009
A couple years after writing this post I decided to write short e-book about eating meal sized salads. Click the graphic below to read more and download the e-book for free!
Last week was our first farm pick up and we got a big bag of... spring greens!! So this post is all about salad and what we eat usually eat for lunch.
Because this post is about salad and I live in the northeast United States where salad ingredients don't grow year round I feel the following has to be said. As much as I love the idea of being a locovore, read my review of Animal, Vegetable, Miracle for more on this subject, it doesn't really work when you live in a northern climate. Unless:
What this means for us is that as much as we'd love to eat locally all year round it just isn't possible when we value highly a diet of fresh green food. So we have to rely on modern transportation (let's call it what it is; the petroleum industry) to supply our winter greens. In my defense we do get Maine greenhouse grown tomatoes all year. Greenhouses... I know, I know, it's still better than from across the continent.
There, I got that out of the way. In case you all start shaking your locovore fingers at me while I say we eat salad most days of the year, all year round. At this point you might be wondering: Only salads? Do your kids eat salad? Don't you get hungry eating salad? Are you tired of salad? No, Yes, No & No.
In the course of 7 days we might eat salad 4 times for lunch. In the winter we also eat soup but those take more time to prepare. Some days we have leftovers but there are never enough leftovers for 5 of us.
My other lunch stand-bys and to add some variety (though I don't believe variety is necessary but a luxury) are: corn tortilla quesadillas, stir fried cabbage & tofu with rice, and one day a week whole grain bread with toppings. Although the afternoons we eat bread I feel a bit more sluggish but it's an easy lunch. The kids and I eat refined grain products a couple times a week, Damien avoids gluten all together. But bread is not our default, fresh veggies are.
It does take more work to prepare a hearty salad for lunch than a pb&j sandwich. So Damien and I do it together. In the morning as we are preparing breakfast I will wash lettuce for all of us, typically 1- 2 heads. Damien will make a dressing (see recipe below) and cut up his veggies. He takes a huge bowl with him to work and I've gotten a start on what the kids and I will eat for lunch. Then during lunch prep I'll cut the rest of the veggies we'll eat, toast sunflower seeds and get beans out the fridge that were cooked the day before or that morning.
Our kids are used to eating salad and will eat it often with little complaint. Celine is our only child who will eat most all vegetables, the other 2 have a few they prefer not to eat so they won't put those on their salad.
If you are transitioning kiddos to eating salad, or yourself for that matter, load it up with lots of interesting things and healthy homemade dressings until you get used to the taste and crunch of all those veggies. Eventually you'll crave raw green veggies and your kids will grow to appreciate them.
My other tip for getting children to eat veggies is to serve a wide variety and let them choose a few they like and don't serve any alternative foods.
Um... anything and everything. Damien takes supper leftovers, when there is some, and mixes them with the greens. But these are the basics:
In case it isn't clear already a salad is a very satisfying meal with the addition of vegetables and beans and if it is BIG.
Shake it all up in jar. Makes enough dressing for a single serving meal sized salad.
Happy raw salad eating! Please feel free to ask questions and/or share links to your favorite salad recipes (whole food ingredients preferred).
11/09 Post Update: Salads were working great for spring and summer but the change of season is telling us it's time for a change. Our current routine is to eat salad once or twice a week. The other days the kids and I eat baked beans and bulghur, bean quesadillas and leftover soup (from the previous night's supper). I still start preparing it in the morning so I don't have to spend too much time in the kitchen at noon.
11/11 Post Update: This past summer we returned to salads almost exclusively for lunch. After all these years of eating salads our kids honestly love them. They ask for them. The kids and I prepare lunch together and it doesn't take too much time. As we head into the winter we plan to continue eating salads, with occasional soup and leftover meals. Definitely moving away from grains at lunch. I wrote a book about this, read all about that here.
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