“But I HATE salads.”
That was the first thought that popped into my head the moment I decided it would be wise to go on a healthier diet before my trip to Hawaii.
Up until now, I have always been proud of the fact that I have never had to go on any type of official diet. Luckily, I have always had the metabolism of an Olympic athlete, so it never really mattered. I have always eaten what I want, when I want, and as much as I wanted, and been blessed with the ability to always remain the exact same weight. Some of my ridiculous culinary habits include:
- Buying “Family Size” portions of rib-eye steak (about 3 pounds) and eating all of it in 2 meals
- Adding butter to EVERYTHING
- Spending just shy of $10 each time I go order from the Wendy’s dollar menu – 2 Jr. Bacon Cheeseburgers, 2 Orders of Chicken Nuggets, 1 Chili, 1 Medium Fries, 1 Cheddar Cheese and Bacon Baked Potato, and a Caesar Salad (you know, to be healthy)
- Two Words: Dim Sum
The worst part about this is that I’ve never really had a reason to stop either. I get blood work done every year, and while it may sound like I’m bragging (I am), every cholesterol, blood sugar, etc test I’ve gotten has been stellar. I do not gain weight beyond the typical 1-2 pound daily fluctuations either (trust me I’ve tried). I think part of the reason is because I am ridiculously active in my everyday life anyway, but seeing that that isn’t going to change, nothing I do would result in weight gain and an overall unhealthy body. Reasonably so, I really saw no need to change my diet in any way.
But the truth is, even if it’s not technically hurting your body (or at least not bad enough that it shows up on your blood tests), you should always aim to be healthier. Having moved out of the Midwest (ie Ranch Dressing region of the world), I began to realize that eating the way I have previously is not the ideal way to live. Stopping by Papa Johns every night is no way to go, and neither is eating without any portion control. And though anyone that knows me here in Seattle knows that I’m still working on the “portion control” aspect, at least for what I’m ingesting, more wouldn’t necessarily be the worst thing in the world.
Which brings me back to salads.
I really do hate salads. They’re usually terrible, doused in some dressing that negates all the vegetable goodness in it. It’s always cold (not a big fan of cold food in general), typically full of foods I would never eat to begin with (why in the world would people want to eat chickpeas?), and it never leaves you feeling satisfied.
But now that I’m on my health/diet overdrive for this trip, I decided to skip the idea of the salad, but still getting my daily fruit/veggie that the ever brilliant food pyramid. Now, nearly 50% of my purchases at the grocery store are in the produce aisle, and I’ve decided to make a “salad” with my favorite fruits and veggies. Everyday, I bring 2-3 pieces of produce to work, and munch on them during the day. One day, I literally had no time for lunch, so I decided to eat them all at once and just make a meal of it. And surprisingly, it was good, healthy, and satisfying.
Here’s an example:
Two Navel Oranges, 1 Red Bell Pepper, and 1 Avocado
Though normally I would scoff down a couple of slices of pizza, or a giant sandwich, or an $8 Thai Pad See Ewe, this time, I just had some fruit and vegetables. It cost me $3 total, was healthy, and most importantly kept me full. It’s something that takes seconds to prepare and you can take it on the go. And when you eat it all at once, it doesn’t feel like a snack, but in fact feels like you ate a whole meal. I mean, it literally fills up a tub, so there is no question about whether or not it fills you up.
Additionally, if any of you are currently on a diet, or are concerned about your daily intake, you can check out nutritional information on fruits and vegetables from the National Food and Drug Administration here. My lunch? One red bell pepper contains 1.9 grams of protein, 46 calories, and 3 grams of dietary fiber, one medium orange contains 1.23 grams of protein, 62 calories and 3.1 grams of dietary fiber, and one medium avocado contains 4.02 grams of protein, 322 calories and 13.5 grams of fiber. All together, that’s roughly 9 grams of protein, 500 calories, and over 50% of my daily suggested fiber intake. All for $3 and 1 minute of prep.
The best part is that this “recipe” is customizable to every single person! Just buy the foods you like, remove the mental stigma that “fruit can’t be a full meal,” and just go for it!
Yu Live, Yu Learn