One of my biggest pet peeves (besides people who blast their ipods too loudly – anyone with me on this?) is the typical salad served at a restaurant.
I recently ordered an “entree” salad supposedly including sugar snap peas, shitake mushrooms, grape tomatoes, and ahi tuna. The vegetable combination was the deciding factor for me, so I was understandably disappointed when the waiter appeared with an appetizer-sized bowl of mostly greens, one snap pea (chopped into pieces), and 2 shitake mushrooms. Yeah, that filled me right up.
I find it unfortunate that salads have a lot of negative associations. Diet food. Rabbit food. Health food. Female food. Food that you have to eat before you can have the good stuff.
There was a time when I thought I had to live on salads to be healthy. The portion had to be small, dressing on the side. I was never satisfied, and I couldn’t figure out why.
Now, my sister calls my salads “serious.” I don’t play around. They’re usually towering, full of every vegetable in my fridge, on top of a massive bed of greens. They don’t contain much dressing because I love to taste the natural flavors. They always leave me feeling energized and well-fed.
I’ve learned that part of being healthy is eating what you love. I happen to love vegetables in great abundance. I’m happy now to savor a serious salad right alongside warm bread and peanut butter, balancing my plate, satisfying my tastebuds.
I hope one day mainstream restaurants will catch on too, using their salads to celebrate fresh, nutrient-rich, and delicious produce, rather than simply touting them as a waistline-friendly choice. Truthfully, I wish we could take the weight associations away from every type of food – but that’s a rant for another day.
What size are your salads?