Who would have thought that a trip to an all inclusive resort in Punta Cana would have left me revived for healthy eating? Not this girl.
Inspired by our recent family vacation, where we enjoyed lazy days on the beach and in the pool, as well as some kick-ass healthy salads, I decided to revamp our refrigerator. Anyone who has read one or two of my posts, or who knows me at all knows that I am a HUGE salad fan. I love making salads and I love eating a good colourful bowl of crunchy goodness. I miss the warmth of the sun and the feel of sand between my toes, and I miss the amazing salad ingredients, ready for me at lunch every day at the buffet.
The trip helped me to see that we hadn’t been eating enough raw, fresh veggies for the last few months. In the winter I believe that warming foods are what our bodies need – stews, soups, and the like. Regardless of that, we still need to get some good, colourful crunch. I tend to get lazy with salads, even though I love them. As a nutritionist, I know that we should aim to eat a leafy green salad daily, regardless of the season. It just seems so much easier in the summer, right? My 7 year old loves salads almost as much as I do. We were both at the salad bar on our holiday and she said “I wish we could have our very own salad bar like this at home”. When your kid wishes for a salad bar, you give her a salad bar. That very day we came up with a list of foods that could be in our fridge for salads.
Our idea is that we will try to come up with new ideas weekly, having about ten containers that are stocked with goodness for easy to make (and with choices that pleasing to everyone) lunches, side salads, an easy meal with some added protein, etc. Our containers this week are:
- Greens – Arugula, Leaf Lettuce and Iceberg (I LOVE the crunch of iceberg)
- Shredded Carrots
- Broccoli Sprouts
- Chick Peas
- Boiled Eggs
- Red Onion
- Red and Orange Bell Pepper
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Walnuts (won’t be used for lunches at school, obviously)
- Diced Chicken
We made our own salads for dinner and it was a hit. My five year old in particular likes to have say over what she is eating. She was super impressed at the buffet on vacation. Having control over what is going in her bowl seems to really excite her. In the morning, once breakfast was eaten, the girls got the containers out of the fridge and put together their salads for lunch. It was very cool to watch them! This is one of their beautiful salads:
After school, their bowls were empty and they both admitted that they ate their salads in their first break… if that isn’t a ringing endorsement, I don’t know what is. Two little girls getting excited about a healthy salad is a wonderful thing.
I personally loved having the ingredients ready to throw together at lunch time. I had a day off, and it was great to have something healthy on hand to eat. Next week when I am back to work, I’m looking forward to some good, quick to prepare lunches. The prep time was quick and very simple. The hinderance to making salads during the week is simple: quick dinners are necessary when we are short on time. Having the food prepped ahead of time makes a huge difference. At dinner time when I was making a pasta sauce, I used some of the carrot, pepper and onion, already prepped. WIN!
Some of our other ideas for future refrigerator salad bars: kale, spinach, radicchio, seaweed, diced cooked sweet potatoes, white potatoes, purple cabbage, tomato, shredded beet, capers, olives, green peas, diced apple, tuna, shredded cheese, radishes, snow peas, black beans, different nuts, sunflower seeds, quinoa, brown rice, etc.
Our dressing is also inspired by an awesome salad dressing we had in Punta Cana. Put 1/2c of olive oil, 1/4 c of fresh lemon juice, salt and pepper, about a tablespoon of chopped pepper and a little chopped onion, and 1 tsp of maple syrup in a mason jar. Shake. Keep in the fridge. Done.
Some bright and happy food for a dreary grey winter day.
Enjoy creating your own salad bar! Eat more salad, be happy.