Salad for Salad Haters

How can you eat healthy if you are kind of lazy about making food and you don’t really like salads?

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A dish made in 5 minutes consisting of carrots, tomatoes, onion, egg plant, apple, pepper, guacamole, red and green pesto with canned tuna fish

What do you do if you want to eat healthy but you cannot really put in the effort and frankly you don’t think a lot of the healthy food tastes all that great? You would rather just eat french fries, pizza and burgers?

The key is to find some healthy combo you like. I am not a fan of the typical salads with green leaves, which leaves you rather hungry. Fortunately I discovered a Salad place in Oslo, Norway where I live called Kvadrat Salat which really changed my perspective. They sell kind of Mediterranean inspired salads made from grilled or roasted vegtables. You can see some examples of what it looks like in this Salad bar below.

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Some of the selection of roasted vegtables at Salat Kvadrat.

What I like about them is that they are not limiting themselves to the simple combo of lettuce, cucumber and tomatoes you all too often see. Here they got a wide variety of vegetables prepared in different ways.

Now with COVID19 it is not easy for me to buy salads there any more as I am mostly working from home. But it turns out that doing something similar to what they do quickly isn’t all that difficult.

It also gets around a common problem with Salad. You prepare a salad and it isn’t any good the day after. It is not fun to cut up a lot of different vegtables every single time you want to eat. But with the approach me and my wife use, you don’t have to.

Here is what we do:

  1. Cut up a bunch of vegetables such as egg plant, carrots, peppers, red beets, sweet potato and onion.
  2. Use a brush and cover them with olive oil.
  3. Put the vegetables on a tray in the oven with baking paper in between. Leave them in for about 20 minutes or whatever time makes them look good to you.

When they are done the first time I often use them for lunch. But the real trick is that you can just put these in containers you put in the fridge. You could put different vegetables in different containers. You can keep these vegetables in the fridge for several days.

Whenever I want a quick lunch, dinner or sometimes even breakfast I just do the following.

  1. Pick the vegtables I want out of the containers. And put them on a plate.
  2. Heat up in micro for 30 seconds or a minute. Whatever works for you.
  3. Add some fresh vegtables. E.g. cut up a tomato. Add some stuff that adds taste such as spice peppers, or some quality olives.
  4. Add some stuff for taste such as green or red pesto. I even add some guacamole I buy ready made in the store.
  5. Add some protein. I prefer to add some canned tuna fish. That gives me the fatty acids as well that the body needs. Of course you could use chicken pieces as well that you cooked earlier and just heated up.

Once you have the roasted vegetables in boxes, it is simply very quick and easy to assemble a taste salad.

Another important thing is to change your mindset about what a salad is for. Stop thinking a salad is just an appetizer for your main meal. You will never get into eating much vegetables that way. People eat these really light green salads next to rice, meat, potatoes pasta etc.

But really you should make sure that the salad itself contains enough to fill you up. The trick is that you got to have beans, lentils etc which adds some energy but which has low glycemic index.

Before this I didn’t like buying vegtables because they would all to easily go to waste. But if you are getting most of your fill from vegtables rather than from pasta, potatoes or rice then you have to eat much larger quantities of vegtables. That means you don’t have to worry as much about vegetables sitting in your fridge until they rot.

I am a Norwegian and our default food is really just to cut some slices of bread and put meat or cheese on. For me the habit I had to change was to think that as soon as I was a bit hungry and needed some snack I could just take out some roasted vegetables from the fridge, heat in micro and add some pesto, meat etc and be done.

I will admit I am not always great at this. But the weeks I manage to be good at eating a lot of this kind of salad instead of other meals I notice I feel a lot better. When you are younger you can eat whatever you like it feels like. But I am in my mid 40s now and eating right really makes a different. If I start the day eating bad food it tends to compound itself.

E.g. if you begin the day by eating some fast calories, your blood sugar falls so fast that next time you get hungry you feel like eating fast calories yet again. You get into a pretty bad circle. Start your day with a salad like this, with some fish or lean meat and your urges for crap food will decline as well.

One other important point I got to make for you to make this work. I cannot emphasize this enough: Don’t be a cheapskate! Cheap healthy food usually tastes crap. If you want to get into healthy habits you got to actually like and enjoy the food you eat. It took me a while before I realized that more expensive high quality olives taste really good. I didn’t think I liked olives because the normal cheap ones I got in a bag tasted like rubber.

Same applies to say the olive oil you buy. Buy high quality cold pressed virgin olive oil. Pesto isn’t as cheap as ranch dressing or thousand islands. But it tastes better and I am pretty sure it is better for you.

You got to look at this as an investment in yourself, your own health and habits. Anyway you haven’t saved any money if you buy cheap food which is so tasteless that you don’t eat it and it just rots in your fridge. Obviously I am not claiming stuff has to be expensive to be healthy. The egg plant and carrots you buy I assume will be pretty cheap. That doesn’t make them bad.

But I think the average person has to acknowledge sooner rather than later, that fresh healthy food is never going to be a price bargain, unless it is tasteless. You could just eat raw vegtables. That is pretty cheap. But my guess is that a couple of days with that and you are scrambling for McDonalds. Unless you are already a McHealthy fitness guru.

Anyway that is just my simple tips for eating health from one lazy geek to another. If you got some other great ideas. Please share. Maybe I can try it out and write about it later.

Written by

Geek dad, living in Oslo, Norway with passion for UX, Julia programming, science, teaching, reading and writing.

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