Okay, I have a confession to make.
I have prosaic American tastebuds.
I am thoroughly embarrassed about this. I don’t like quinoa or kale or tofu. Eating Thai or Indian food or sushi usually makes me throw up. I love the idea of being a food sophisticate, but I am so not. I like things like sloppy joes and tuna noodles and hamburgers, for heaven’s sake. Cole slaw is fantastic, and so is fried chicken.
Reading the internet, you’d think you couldn’t be healthy unless you like to eat vegetables with unpronounceable names and stop eating meat or carbs or both. Well, I am out to prove people wrong. I have no desire to change my cultural palate, but that doesn’t mean I can’t shift it a little to the healthy side without massacring it. I have a few rules I follow to create a healthy American cuisine:
- Limit cheese-heavy and cream-based sauce meals to once a week. They are foundational in American foods, so enjoy them by limiting them.
- Cook with real ingredients and make things yourself when possible. If you only eat homemade donuts, you’ll eat a lot less doughnuts.
- Throw extra vegetables in everything, but don’t disguise them. I personally think it’s silly to hide your vegetables in cake, bread, smoothies, etc. All that does is create a habit of eating cake/bread/smoothies, which may not always have vegetables in them. Get the vegetables out where you can see them and put them there in boatloads. Yes, this means my version of chili has carrots, celery, corn, garlic, onions, and peppers.
- Have a side salad with dinner every day.
It’s this last item that I’m working on. As you might guess by my taste preferences, I’m not so much into salad. Usually when I buy a bag of greens, half of it rots in my fridge. This year, I hope to get my family to be more consistent about eating salad. Well, mostly my husband and I, as my children, thanks to excellent
brainwashing training, both love to eat salad.
The other thing that keeps me from eating more salad—besides its nasty chlorophyll-ly taste—is the effort it takes to make the thing. Salads come in second only to sandwiches in their time-to-make to tastiness ratio. (Does that make sense? It takes way too long to make them given the pitiful result.)
Thus I am beginning the Perpetual Salad Initiative. The idea is to add a few new ingredients each day to transform the salad into something new. Hopefully this will make salad more interesting and keep us from getting bored of eating it. Ready to see the plan? All right, then.
Day 1: Caesar salad – Begin with romaine lettuce and Parmesan cheese. Serve with croutons and Caesar dressing.
Day 2: Spinach w/fruit salad – Add spinach, craisins or berries, and walnuts or almonds. Serve with poppy seed dressing.
Day 3: Garden salad – Add a lettuce mix (spring greens, 7 lettuces, etc.), and two or more vegetables such as cucumbers, onions, mushrooms, and olives. Serve with Thousand Island dressing.
Day 4: Cobb salad – Add more romaine lettuce, as well as either tomatoes or avocado, chicken, and grated cheese. Serve with a vinaigrette.
Day 5: Chef salad – Add iceberg salad mix, chopped hard boiled eggs, and ham. Serve with croutons and ranch.
Day 6: Dump it and start over!
Any of your favorite salad types that I missed? What are your tips for making and eating salad? I could definitely use some help.