I will admit it up front – I am not a salad person. So, I was a little unsure of how to respond when I was invited by Liz Layton, one of the GIC’s many champions of wellness, to participate in a healthy salad potluck lunch. Being that I represent the GIC’s wellness initiatives all across the Commonwealth, and that I like any event that Liz plans, I couldn’t turn her offer down. I figured I could manage to eat a lunch that consisted only of salad for one day, and I’d have some fun making my own salad in the process. I was very surprised by how tasty every salad I tried was, and how a good “salad” doesn’t necessarily have to include lettuce. I even discovered that I like beets, which was an extra bonus of attending the lunch.
Healthy potlucks are a great opportunity for agencies to encourage camaraderie, healthy eating, and an actual lunch break spent away from one’s desk. Salad potlucks are also a great way to encourage eating a few extra servings of fruits and vegetables, which can often be difficult, especially when eating out, as many people so often do. I am a big advocate of eating a serving of vegetables with lunch and dinner, and offering numerous salad choices is a great way to get in several different servings of vegetables in the same meal. Adding lean protein like chicken or quinoa, or whole grains in a whole wheat pasta, cous cous, or bulgur salad, can lend variety and extra nutrients to the meal as well. And, let’s not forget about “dessert.” If you’re like me, you might not feel satisfied if you haven’t had something sweet with each meal. The healthiest way to satisfy a sweet tooth? FRUIT! So of course it makes sense that my contribution to the potluck was fruit salad.
I managed to sneak an extra treat (and some calcium) into my salad of cantaloupe, red grapes, and mango by accompanying it with homemade cannoli cream, made with low-fat ricotta cheese. Now that I think of it, salad isn’t so bad after all!