Building a Cheap Salad

The other day I had packed a healthy lunch for my long day of driving carpool to school, running the countless errands on my list, and appointments.  And then I left without packing it in my car.  I was really bummed because I am trying to eat better foods and less processed foods everyday. 

 So I was really stuck and thought I was going to be “forced” to eat fast food again.  And I didn’t want to spend a lot of money or time getting a good healthy meal.  Then I remembered that one of the grocery stores on my route to an errand had a salad bar.  This salad bar was a fairly good one since it had lots of organic veggies and some tuna, chicken and pasta salads. 

We all know that salads always taste better when someone else fixes it or when you eat a salad at a restaurant.  But I must say that I pack a mean salad at the “ok salad bar corral.”  So I set out to eat healthy and inexpensively. 

Steps to building a cheap and healthy salad:

 I began by doing a once over of the entire salad bar and making mental notes on what would weigh the least and the most.  This particular salad bar was $7.99 a lb.  Which I think is quite a lot of dough for a some green rabbit food.  But I assessed the bar and made a plan. 

1. Fill the bottom of your salad with a good layer of lettuce or spinach.  This stuff doesn’t weigh much and will fill you up. Leave the corners empty for items you don’t want mixed with the lettuce.

2. Add some shredded carrots or anything else that is shredded.  More taste to spread around.

3. Sprinkle a few (like 2 or 3) pieces of broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers or mushrooms.  But choose only the tiny ones. 

4. No cheese.  It will weigh down your salad and will add to your caloric intake.

5. Add a few croutons and  a good heap of sunflower seeds or slivered almonds.

6. Stay away from beans.  They are too heavy.

7. Next choose a pasta, chicken or tuna salad to add to the corners of your box.  The portions should be the size of what you can put on 3 small Ritz crackers.

This should complete your salad.  Once you get to thinking healthy and cheap, you will figure out what to add and what to omit from you salad.  Of course you go with what taste good to you.  I think all salads should have some crunchy stuff in them.  So I love to add nuts or sesame seeds to my salad. 

 My particular place did not include the dressing or two packages of crackers in the weight of my salad.  My grand total for my salad was $4.00.  I had about 1/2 a pound of salad in my box.  That was plenty.  If you think your salad is too small (half a pound of salad is a lot) and that you will be hungry later, then grab an apple, banana  or a yogurt and you will be set.

What do you absolutely have to have when you make a salad?

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