My favorite week day lunch is the “create your own” salad bar. They are easy to find, delicious and (if you make it right) healthy.
It seems simple enough – pick out your base, add some veggies, and a protein, then mix in some dressing. WRONG! People get to the front of the line and suddenly lose all sense of who they are and what they are doing.
First, there’s the “Bro” salad. This is a guy, usually pretty fit, that is trying to eat healthy without being too girly. He puts manly things on his salad like phallic shaped vegetables, cheddar cheese, and of course, bacon.
Then there’s the “Dressing Drench”. This is a decent looking salad, a mildly healthy mix, and a nice thick coating of ranch dressing to hide all of the flavor.
There’s also the “um, do you have…”. This is the picky eater who is looking for something like all organic natural roasted hand pealed lightly salted cashews and is extremely offended when their request is not met.
My favorite, and the most common salad is the “Good Things Gone Wrong” salad. This happens when the person gets too excited about the options and ends up with a bad combo of flavors. Trust me, it happens all the time.
There is an art to creating the perfect “make your own” salad and using these tips, you can be a master of the salad bar.
1. Go with a plan (or at least a theme) in mind.
I usually decide on a few items before I get there. For example, if I’m craving walnuts and feta I add apples, chicken, green onions and tomato. Or, if I’m jonesing for some beets, I add sprouts, chickpeas and cucumber.
2. Find a regular spot.
If you know what’s there planning ahead is a lot easier. You might discover new things each time you go – like that the avocado is in the back or that you can opt for chopped.
3. “A little bit” goes a long way
Nothing is worse than an over dressed salad. Ask for a little bit – you can always say “a little bit more”.
4. One at a time.
If you’re going to try something new, try one new thing at a time. If you throw a bunch of new flavors in the bowl, you might not like the combo.
Basically, don’t let yourself get overwhelmed. I just don’t want you to be one of those people that is handed a salad, looks down and thinks, “I’ve made a huge mistake.”