My answer to "What to Eat for Lunch" question is: a handmade raw vegetable salad you put together yourself. And this is not only for when I am working on losing weight.
Benefits of it are quite easy to guess, but I will list them anyway:
- I always know what is in my salad and how much calories I just ate.
- Fresh vegetables are good source of all the nutricional goodness: vitamins, minerals, fiber, all the other things my body needs.
- I use mainly uncooked raw vegetables, so most of nutrients make it there unharmed.
- I can eat a big bowl of vegetable salad, get full and still be under the calorie limit I set for my meal.
- It takes 15-20 mins to throw a salad together, and yes, I can do it at work as well as at home.
- It doesn't cost a fortune even if I use organic ingredients, it is still cheaper that average lunch meal I purchased before.
- I always eat something different, changing ingredients slightly doesn't let me to get bored with what I eat.
Vary Salad Ingredients
There are few base recipes on my cooking blog I play around usually: Raw Vegetable Salad with Feta (and a variation of it Raw Vegetables and Chicken Salad with Feta), Green Tuna Salad, Cabbage and Carrots Salad with Oil. I add/remove some ingredients depending on what I have on hands or what I feel like eating today.
My choice for salad ingredients usually consist of these:
- Campari tomato
- Baby cucumber
- Slice of bell pepper
- Half of avocado
- Few tablespoons of raw corn
- Third of baby zucchini
- A tablespoon of green parsley and/or dill
- Handful of spinach
- A kale leaf
- A bit of chopped cabbage of some kind
- Belgian endive
- Chopped celery
- A floret or two of cauliflower or broccoli, or a combination of these
- A bit of green onion or a bit of chopped onion
- A tablespoon of crumbled feta cheese
- 0.5-1oz of diced cheddar cheese
- A babybello mushroom
- Few sugar or snap peas pods
- Some living sprouts, e.g. bean mix, or broccoli or soy or something like this
- Diced boiled chicken breast
- Half of hardboiled chicken egg
- A tablespoon of raw sunflower or pumpkin seeds
- A tablespoon of hemp hearts
Salad Dressing is Important
I dress my salads with a bit of olive oil, other vegetable and various nut oils will work as well. A combination of oil with lemon juice is good too.
Don't go for pre-made salad dressing and such, unless you checked what they made of first and made sure it is not pure sugar with bad fat and preservatives.
Is Salad Enough?
If you eat/snack 5-6 times a day and make your diet transition slowly (see my notes on that in A Start to Eating Better), salad is enough for a meal. I usually eat salad for lunch and for dinner.
Disclaimer salad skeptics: no, I don't not feel hungry 30 mins after eating salad, a bowl of 250 to 400 calories sala actually fills me up. The trick is to get used to it: make portions bigger at first, then reduce size to where you want it to be calorie-wise; eat slowly, enjoy it, and actually look forward to your next salad!
A Random Pic
This is a random photo of one of my lunch salad bowls at work:
I still don't know what that purple thing there was. It looked pretty and tasted like some kind of mix between kale and cabbage. Cashier at Kroger's register counted it as savoy cabbage. However I am pretty sure that savoy cabbage looks somewhat different. And it isn't a red cabbage either...