The D-word (DIET) has been in our house for about a week now. We’re accustomed to the types and amounts of things we need to eat and we know that at lunchtime, the best thing we can eat is a salad. Enter the B-word now – BORING! How to fix this? Get out a sharp knife and get back to the basics – because you eat with your eyes first. What do I mean by that? Follow along!
When you sit down in front of a large plate of food, your first impulse is that you cannot possibly eat it all. You are already tricking your brain into believing you are going to be full when you are finished, no matter how many calories are actually there. You are, however, delighted that you are “allowed” to eat that much, so right off the bat you are sure you are going to be happy and that it will fill you up. So first, you want to make the dish look as large as possible. To do that, you need to chuck the salad bowl and get out a plate. The plate pictured is actually even a charger plate – an extra large one – so the salad can be spread out to look as large as possible.
Next, make it look pretty so you will enjoy eating it, and that’s all about the colors you choose and the chopping. For my salad, I went through the vegetable drawer and made sure I had several varieties of green (leaf lettuce, celery, snow peas, and cucumber) as well as some contrasting red (radishes and tomato) and a little white (also in the radishes). Then I thought about how I could chop each one to be at its most attractive self. I chose leaf lettuce (2 cups) because it has curly edges and makes a beautiful chiffonade. (Roll the leaves together and then slice across them.) By the way, cutting the lettuce this way also allows it to mound beautifully so it looks like more than it is.
I cut 1/2 stalk of celery and 1/2 cup of snow peas into thin slices on an angle, then sliced 5 cherry tomatoes in half and cut two radishes into matchsticks. I mixed all but the tomatoes together and mounded it on the plate, arranging the tomatoes on the side like a garnish. Then I got out my secret weapon – the spiral machine shown earlier in the post about the yellow beets, and cut 1/2 of a cucumber into long thin strips that look like spaghetti. Of course, to show that off, I could see that it should be on top. Then I sprinkled a little mixed pepper over it all and served Waldon Farms no calorie salad dressing on the side.
The result, as you can see, is a salad fit for a queen that contained … drum roll… 127 calories! That beautiful cucumber topping was only 10 of those! I felt totally stuffed when I finished it for another reason too. It took me quite awhile to eat it. It takes your stomach 20 minutes to register that you are full, so if you can take 20 minutes to eat something, you’re usually home free. There are a lot of individual bites in a salad that size and it’s not going to disappear very quickly. Because of the time spent, I also really felt like I had had a big meal. If you like to add some protein to your salads, try 6 slices of low fat deli meat, chopped up into small pieces and mixed through for a whopping 45 additional calories. I think a total of 172 calories for a complete meal is pretty acceptable on any diet! On second thought, maybe the D-word can stay around awhile. I think I like it.