Gentle Readers, The Practical Cook adores a salad bar, but does not adore the typically gloppy dressing choices at the end of it. My work salad bar is fantastic: beautiful greens, interesting options, rotating items. However, they have the thickest dressings known to mankind at the finish.
For real, do not bother eating a salad if you put the equivalent of a Big Mac on top. Just eat the Big Mac and be happy about it! So what’s a Gentle Reader to do? Read on.
The Practical Cook’s Top 5 Tips to Surviving the Salad Bar
1. Use oil and vinegar if you can at all tolerate them. Learn to love balsamic vinegar, it is the get out of jail free pass of the salad bar. I like to douse with a healthy dose of chopped egg (not so much cheese, which I’m finicky about on salads), a splash of olive oil, and a goodly amount of vinegar. You don’t want the salad to be fat-free, or you’ll starve, but do you really love ranch that much?
2. If you love ranch that much, thin it. Fine, I know many a ranch lover out there, including Complicated Veggie Medium and The Youngest Practical Cook Junior. Most ranch dressings are super thick on the bar, but you can thin with either lemon juice (often available) or one of the lighter vinegars. Consider putting your dressing on the side. Bonus, less dressing equals a cheaper salad.
3. Fill your bowl 2/3 full of greens at the start. This is key, go heavy on the greens at the beginning, and you’ll not have as much room for the less than ideal toppings. Again, I am not vetoing egg, cheese, nuts, avocado, etc., but keep your ratios in check.
4. Eat the rainbow. Even if you put just one of each color of thing you see on your salad, you’ll be surprised how quickly and colorfully it adds up. A simple rule of childhood works wonders here.
5. Pack a snack. I love salads, really I do. I eat them most days at the office paired with soup, but I almost always have a trail mix snack in the wings. Salads for lunch keep you from having a serious heavy meal crash, but they will not keep you going through drive-time traffic, in my experience. If you don’t want to gnaw off your arm on the way home, plan ahead.
Are you a lunch salad fan? What are your tricks for avoiding paying a mortgage at the salad bar? Post your comment below! Inquiring minds want to know.
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Up next, On the Road to One Pull-up: The First Challenge.