A recent Buzzfeed article was published showing 17 recipes for people who hate salads. My lovely wife, who knows and understands I hate salad, but am trying to eat healthier, sent me this link. What I think this article fails to understand is that the reason I hate salad is not their bland and boring nature. I hate salad because I hate lettuce and all lettuce adjacent leafy greens (specifically in their raw form). This includes, but is not limited to, kale, spinach, cabbage (especially cabbage – f that garbage), collard greens, and any of the various alternate forms of lettuce (romaine, butter, etc.). Many of these “salad alternatives” here are chocked full of the hated leafy greens.
In the interest of being healthy, I am going to try over the next month to eat a better lunch by trying each of these 17 recipes over the next month (and potentially a few of my own). This would of course be a good way to eat better at lunch, as these are generally healthy, lower calorie alternatives to fast food or burritos or subs.
In the interest of science and the scientific approach to lunch, I am going to monitor a number of factors about these lunches. I have already made a score spreadsheet in Excel. Each category will be scored from 1 – 10, with one being the worst and 10 the best. So far, I have thirteen categories.
- Easy to Assemble: how much work goes into preparing ahead of time, including shopping, chopping, cooking, packaging
- Prepare Lunch: how much work goes into direct prep for lunch, including cooking, dressing, assembling at work, need for equipment
- Eating Difficulty: how hard is it to eat at a desk, space required, utensils, sloppiness, grossness of smells, spill difficulty, neighbor intrusiveness
- Taste: does it taste like cardboard soaked in ranch, hot garbage
- Anticipated Joy: how much am I looking forward to lunch, does this lunch make me want to leave it in the fridge and go get a sandwich
- Healthiness: using the information on the recipe put into myfitnesspal.com calorie tracker. The score will be the calories initially, later converted into a 1-10 score based on the distribution of the recipes included
- Good for you: low calorie garbage (sugars, bread) vs higher calorie things like protein and fiber – more subjective measure
- Actual joy: did I enjoy eating this
- Aftermath: did it cause terrible breath or burps or farts or stomach ache, could I smell it for hours after it had been eaten
- Cleanup: What is required for clean-up, can I just take it home and run through dishwasher or do I need a hazmat team
- Repeatability: how hard is the recipe to repeat/reproduce
- Would I eat it again: even if I didn’t like it that much (e.g. salads) would I eat again based on other factors
- Monetary costs: what did it cost to make and eat this lunch? This category will be actual grocery store costs initially, but later scored relative to the baseline salad.
While technically all of these are subjective (as I’m the only one participating – unless I can get Sara to join in and provide scores), the approach is still scientific as I try to determine if these alternate lunch recipes are better or worse than a lunch salad. To start I will need a baseline measurement. For that, I am going to use romaine salad with cherry tomatoes, croutons, a bit of parmesan cheese, and Ken’s Lite Caesar dressing. This has been my go-to salad for some time. We will call it the baseline salad. I can choke it down without feeling terrible, it is easy to prepare, does not cost too much, and is filling while being low calorie. It brings little actual or anticipated joy, but scores ok in other ways. I will probably also include Dole bagged chopped salads as one of the recipes too, as these are often my lunch. Just to be thorough I will also include a trip to Jersey Mike’s (a sub shop of which I am fond) and McDonalds.
The idea will be to complete all of this in a month. I am not 100% sure this is feasible due to the constraints of daily living with a toddler, but I will try. If I have to switch to something easier or change the recipe, I will note that in the comments of the spreadsheet.
This totally does not seem like a bad idea or a waste of time at all – but at least I will have eaten healthier for a month.
Recipes that I am going to try:
Bagged chopped salad
Jersey Mike’s regular #9 – Swiss cheese, turkey, roast beef, tomatoes, mayo (light), and bacon.
McDonald’s #3 – QPC
Buffalo Chicken Burrito Bowls
Green goddess sandwiches
Make-Ahead Southeast Asian Pho in a Jar
Grilled Chicken Veggie Bowls
Zucchini Noodles with Kale Pesto
Lentil and Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus Wrap
DIY Starbucks Protein Box
Slow-Cooker Tomato, Kale, and Quinoa Soup
Portabella Mushroom Pizzas
Baked Chipotle Salmon with Freekeh, Chard, and Avocados
Roasted Vegetables with Shredded Chicken, Parsley, and Lemon
Quinoa Tabbouleh Collard Green Wraps
Kale, Sweet Potato, and Onion Frittata with an Apple
Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Tart Cherry Tuna and Avocado Bowls
Easy Lunch Wrap with Sweet Potato, Hummus, and Greens
This is the original Buzzfeed article to which I’m referring.