One of my favorite life-changing tips for someone wanting to eat healthier or lose weight, is to turn one part of the fridge into a Salad Bar. Why is this simple act a life changing habit? Because for all that it seems easy to set a goal of eating one big salad daily, when it comes down to it, good intentions usually don’t lead to success. The person who “means to” reach for salad but ends up eating a half a can of almonds instead, can end up abandoning their goal, believing they lack the discipline or self control necessary to eat healthy, when in fact what they really lack is basic organizational skills.
Too often, the quickest, easiest thing to grab when you’re hungry or stressed is packaged, processed, calorie-dense/nutrient-poor junk food, like chips, fast food, cookies or other empty-calorie snacks. Or people reach for nutrient-dense “health foods” like nuts, which while arguably better than chips or cookies, can still have too high a caloric load to be” a little something to munch on between meals.”
When you take 10 minutes after coming home from the store to wash and chop your favorite salad ingredients just the way you like ‘em--and organize them into containers in the fridge, you’re creating a super simple, repeatable system, that ensures you’ll get that daily salad at home just as readily as when you go out to any restaurant salad bar. If the quickest, easiest food to grab when you’re in a hurry or feeling too lazy to cook is salad, wouldn’t you eat a lot more fresh vegetables and lean protein (and a lot less junk food)?
Just as a restaurant salad bar always features a big bin of leafy greens and several smaller bins with toppings like shredded cabbage, grated carrot, cherry tomatoes, sliced cucumber and protein options like beans, chicken or fish, you can create a salad bar at home that’s as simple or as fancy as you like it—with all YOUR favorite ingredients, and none of the stuff you’d end up skipping at a café salad bar.
I even like adding leftovers like baked spaghetti squash, roasted root veggies, steamed green beans and sautéed gingered kale to my salad bar at home, to keep things interesting and varied. The options are endless, and you can change ‘em up any time you start to get bored with salad…And a bonus? You can also expand your refrigerator salad bar to include pre-chopped stir-fry ingredients, again making it much more likely you’ll cook a healthy stir-fry in just a few minutes after a long day at work, and much less likely you’ll get bored with eating the same old salad every day. Once you have your system in place, all it takes is a few minutes here and a few minutes there, to chop a new ingredient and store it in your salad bar section of the fridge.
Just as setting out your gym clothes the night before can help you get that morning workout in, creating a section of the fridge that’s fully stocked with grab-n-go salad & stir-fry ingredients and a few delicious salad dressings sets you up for nutritional success--and much easier accomplishment of daily action steps and big-picture goals. Try it sometime, see how it feels for a week to eat a daily salad from your at-home salad bar, and see for yourself what a game-changer the Refrigerator Salad Bar can be!