How is that we can even make the word S-A-L-A-D a dirty word? It seems like as soon as I find myself enjoying food that is supposed to be good for me; BINGO, the chemists swoop down and find the magic ingredients that make it taste so good are essentially the equivalent of 4 Tasty-Creme donuts? Geez, if I had known that, I would have just stopped off at the do-nut shop for lunch.
My husband and I have been battling the bulge pretty consistently this year. We work out at a full-service fitness center 3 times a week, bowl one evening a week, and I try to hit the health-center swimming pool for water aerobics class twice a week. Still, it is slow progress. (or should I say loss)
Then, I read that the additives put into food we eat in restaurants are the real culprits. It isn't the romaine, the tomatoes or the celery that is making us fatter. It isn't even the chicken breast we top it off with, or the basic low-fat salad dressing. It is all the little tasty bits that are added and the way the chicken breast is marinated, fried and dressed, that is to blame.
It isn't the hamburger, or even the cheese, and it certainly isn't the lettuce that is to blame. It is that special sauce, and the soft white bun and the well-oiled grill the patty is fried on.
Our eyes opened, we began to be more choosy, and settle on a more spartan presentation. We order only water to drink (which turned out to be a big money saver too) and asked more questions, and made a few more demands.
Last weekend I tried ordering the breakfast I usually enjoy here at home. I was pleasantly surprised that the server prided herself on filling my order even though she had to get very creative to do it. My order? Half cup of uncooked oats, a serving of low-fat vanilla yogurt, a banana and a few tablespoons of walnuts (no not the candied pecans) and wheat toast. It was liberating I tell you. Total cost was way under $5 which is about a third of what we usually spend for one breakfast there.
We also discovered that we could make a fantastic salad out of greens, tomatoes, onions, and chunks of leftover baked chicken. Very satisfying. So, something good has come of our family's realization that we must tighten our belts: We are re-discovering the many benefits of a home-cooked meal. Not only are we saving money, we are losing weight.