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An interesting "food challenge" at work

We are a small business, only about eight people. I'm 49, Sabrina is 55, and then it ranges from a 20 yr. old to a 72 yr. old.

Sabrina, myself, and Cody, who is 28, have all decided that we will drop some weight between now and the end of the month. Cody has never really exercised before but he's already doing great.

Sabrina and I, on the other hand, have gained big innertubes of blubber around our waists due to stress at work and menopause. We both are in great health, my good cholesterol is triple the norm and my blood pressure is well below nornal. We both run every day.

So today we decided that we would do fun, interesting, healthy salads for lunch. We figured out what each other had in our refrigerators & pantries at home and tomorrow will bring all of that ready to go for some salads.

Tomorrow I'm bringing:

baby greens
cherry tomatoes
sliced red onion
orange bell pepper
sugar snap peas
sliced baby carrots
grilled corn
chick peas
cannellini beans
black beans
artichoke hearts (marinated & not marinated)
black olives
sunflower seeds
dried cranberries
slivered almonds

This should be fun combining what everyone else brings. I'm burned out on making dressings so Sabrina is handling that as well as protein such as hard boiled eggs and chicken.

I'm curious how long this will last. I can live on salads forever, but I'm not sure if everyone else can.

Any interesting suggestions for ingredients?

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  1. fresh berries
    dried apricots
    fresh or grilled stone fruits
    Any kind of cheese
    multigrain tortilla chips (instead of croutons)
    Candied nuts (i like sweet Cajun pecans)

    1. hummus
      couscous
      quinoa

      a couple of co-workers (both of them men) and I were also trying to drop some pounds a few years ago, and for awhile for lunch every day we'd have a drained can of tuna mixed with chopped tomatoes, sometimes a little diced avocado, s&p, and dressed with Tapatio hot sauce (which is pretty mild). Fresh, healthy, light and a really satisfying lunch.

      1. Baked sweet potato, baby spinach, grilled asparagus and broccoli, pumpkin seeds, grilled haloumi, couscous, prawns, tofu, vermicelli rice noodles with chilli and herbs like holy basil, mint and coriander (cilantro), rocket (I think that's arugula in the States?), edamame, madarin segments, pear slices.

        Anything that you can eat raw, or cooked and cooled, gets put in salads at my house.

        1. thanks for all of the suggestions. Today's lunch was a hit, and I'm amazed at how much we ate, so I'll throw in some of your suggestions tomorrow.

          Our refrigerator seems to create a lot of moisture, so the salad greens don't hold up too well. I got another container of them tonight after work and will keep them at home and take them to work as we need them.

          mariacarmen, are you suggesting I just have your ingredients in the fridge to create "an alternative salad" to something based on greens?

          ultimatepotato, I'd worry that prawns would have to be eaten as soon as cooked. I love grilled prawns in a salad but this is stuff we can keep in the fridge throughout the week.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Barbara76137

            If your fridge at work has a freezer you could freeze the cooked prawns and put them in the fridge the morning you want them...

            1. re: Barbara76137

              yes, i often take couscous and quinoa salads to lunch - mix the cooked cooled grains in with chopped veggies, dried fruit, toasted nuts, herbs/spices.... with a nice lemony vinaigrette - yum!

              as for the hummus, i was thinking more of a side, with crackers maybe, to your salad.

              1. re: Barbara76137

                cold boiled shrimp last about thrre days in the fridge....I eat that for lunch sometimes

              2. hearts of palm!!
                roasted cauliflower
                grilled onions
                edamame
                diced apples or grapes
                sundried tomatoes - not marinated in oil
                roasted garlic -- if you don't mind having the breath...smell...
                grilled asparagus
                grilled eggplant - marinated in balsamic
                grilled mushrooms - marinated in balsamic
                grated zucchini or yellow squash
                steamed and chilled shredded cabbage with a hint of rice vinegar
                cucumber slices
                roasted celery slices
                fire-roasted scallions
                ...to name a few more...

                good luck... keep that momentum going!

                1. I find that as long as I have enough fat and protein on top of my salad, I am more inclined to keep eating them daily...otherwise I starve a couple hours later and stop choosing them. By fat I mean things such as lots of cheese, nuts, EVOO, or eggs; and a hefty dose of protein. Full disclosure: I prefer low-carb/Paleo-ish to low-fat. I'd skip anything sugary or grainy. Love fresh berries on salads, especially with gorgonzola and nuts. Homemade balsamic, too - get good vinegar and skip the added sugar. Orange wedges and strawberries are nice with nuts and cheese. Did a nice salad once topped with grilled salmon, pine nuts, roasted peppers, and a meyer lemon dressing. Sounds like a fun challenge!

                  1. First, I just have to say that as soon as you mentioned names and ages I was reminded of all those classic math/reasoning questions that start out that way. Fun moment!

                    I fully agree with living on salads. And, it's pretty much all I eat during the late spring and early summer times. I like to go heavy with herbs and a large variety of greens. For me, I just have to have a butter lettuce, an herb and a strong green (such as arugula). To that base, I look to add something crunchy, an umami and I generally go with a liquid sweet component (often along with a hot component), just because I like to have it in every bite. A cheater's dressing for me is mixing up mayo, chipotle and jam.

                    To keep it interesting, you could have a certain theme with the ingredients (Southern, Asian, etc.). As for specifics, just pick the fresh/best produce and build on that and it'll turn out great. A change in dressing and protein is good. Smoked canned oysters, canned salmon, and silken tofu come to mind. Certain canned vegetables, such as canned seaweed, make a good textural addition. A salad is a great excuse to explore the foreign sections in a market and trying out something new.

                    On keeping greens fresh, a common method is to wrap them in some moist absorbent wrapping (paper towel or even a real towel). Spray it beforehand and it'll have just enough moisture to keep the greens crisp, but not soggy.

                    1. Wow, great suggestions from all, not only for at work but for home as well. Sometimes at work we barely have time to eat, so prep time is at a premium. Everything must be in containers either in the fridge or outside, and it simply has to be a grab what you want and toss your salad.

                      Today I barely had time to grab some sunflower seeds, wasabe peas and sugar snap peas and that was my lunch. Poor Sabrina didn't even have time for that. Cody went to the first In N Out burger in Fort Worth that opened last week :)

                      So much for the "challenge".

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Barbara76137

                        Cody! ruining it for everyone! gotta kinda love that boy, tho....