As I sit down to write this post I am glancing out a very large window looking onto part of Calgary’s inner city. Part of the hip+trendy area chalk full of restaurants, pubs and various foodie & specialty stores. Essentially, food blogger heaven. Literally across the street? A thrift shop known to me purely due to their selection of old cutlery and pewter wares. Four blocks from my building stands Community Natural Foods, the organic grocer in which the majority of my food comes from.
Sounds pretty dreamy, right?
Definitely it is. Moving back into the city after spending the last two years in a small(ish) town nestled closer to the Rocky Mountains has felt like coming home. Something about the city, it just gets me. The vibe, the energy, the honking horns. The accessibility and of course having a food mecca at my fingertips is a total bonus. I know city living isn’t for everyone, no different than country living, but for this girl – it’s feeling pretty darn cozy.
Having a much shorter commute to get essentially everywhere coupled with the general walk-ability has me feeling totally pumped! Less time in the car, more time on my feet. More time using my feet. In addition to all of these positives, living closer in and spending less time in the car means I’m better able to prep myself for the days and workweek ahead. Coming home late from work and wanting nothing more than to crawl into bed makes lunch prep for the following day a bit of a hassle.
I won’t lie to you, on more than one occasion (in fact, far more often than not) my lunch the day after a late night would consist of a smorgasbord of random items often including rice cakes, sunflower seed butter and who knows what else. Nothing wrong with that! Rice cakes and nut butter are a good go-to I’d say. However for someone who strongly advocates meal prep and general food organization I really wasn’t practicing what I was preaching.
The solution to this dilemma? An in-house salad bar.
I pulled this trick from pals who are big into fitness and fitness-nutrition. You’ve seen it on social media, Pinterest, whatever – loads and loads of tupperwares all lined up and filled with exactly the same thing, then shoved into the fridge.
This version isn’t exactly that, each of my salads for the week has a little something different just to keep things interesting. The journey to healthy eating for me never started with eating salads, certainly not the kind that were so readily available years ago (I’m looking at you iceberg lettuce + tomato + cucumber). Now, with added nuts seeds eggs quinoa this that whatever, they’re far more of a meal.
For those of you who have a hard time sitting down to a plain old boring salad, I entice you to spice it up with cooked grains, potatoes and other starches. Add in some nuts, seeds or sprouted legumes. Toss in some cheese if you do dairy, tempeh if you do soy, eggs if you’re into eggs. No different than building a warm Buddha Bowl, just load it up with whatever you’ve got. Dress it with whatever you’ve got. Hemp oil and lemon juice, hummus, guacamole, tzatziki, balsamic – up to you. It doesn’t need to be complicated and it doesn’t need to cost you an arm & a leg.
Maybe one week you could try adding Mediterranean goodies, stuffed vine leaves olives sundried tomatoes – that kind of thing. The following week you could do more of an Asian flare with seaweeds pickled condiments and yams. After that try cooked quinoa with spicy baked beans guacamole and organic non-GMO corn chips.
I’m telling you the possibilities are endless and anything but boring. Reinvent your lunch, your dinner, your thoughts on salads.
The salad bar pictured within this post includes the following:
- Spicy Chili Marinated Black Olives
- Garlic Stuffed Green Olives
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Purple Cabbage
- Massaged Kale + Romaine Hearts
- Beans (Baked with chili flakes, lemon juice and salt)
- Roasted Garlic, Fingerling Potatoes and Onions (chop as you wish, toss everything in a pan with some quality coconut oil and bake at 375 for about half an hour)
- Stuffed Vine Leaves
- Sliced Raw Beet
- Raw Green Beans
- Tzatziki + Garlic Hummus
No recipe necessary, literally just what was available in the fridge. Mix ‘n’ Match as you wish!