There is nothing quite so comforting and satisfying as a delicious sandwich. The moist chewy bread, the tangy mayo, the salty deli meat, the crunchy lettuce – it’s a dream in flavour and texture come true. A sandwich just looks right on the plate too, and it always leaves you feeling full and satiated.
The thought of giving up this mound of deliciousness and switching to eating leaves for lunch can be downright depressing. And while I don’t think there’s any harm in eating a sandwich from time to time, there is, however, a mindset rut you can get stuck in when you rely on the sandwich.
Consider that most meals are constructed using a vehicle. The vehicle for a sandwich, for example, is the bread – it is the main component that carries the remaining elements, most of which act almost as flavour elements. Indeed, the vast majority of standard Western meals rely on processed carbohydrates as the blank canvas upon which to build your meal. Think of pizza dough, pasta, sandwich bread, hamburger buns, dumplings, pita wraps, white rice, French fries – these are all processed carbohydrates and all foundations upon which we construct the meals we make.
This is precisely why it’s so difficult to switch to salads for lunch: our meal creativity is stuck in the carbohydrate-based vehicle, and when we remove it, what we’re left with is a small pile of sandwich toppings – which might be delicious tasting, but we’ll still be hungry after.
Believe me when I say that a lunchtime salad can be a heavenly, delicious, stomach-filling meal, one you look forward to and one that won’t leave you with the dreaded 2:30 pm carb crash. Eating a salad is not about calorie-restriction either; it’s about swapping out the unhealthy, processed calories of a processed carb-based meal for the wholesome, fibre-rich, lower GI calories that will make your body and mind happy and healthy.
How to Make Everyone Green with Envy for Your Sexy Salad
1. Make your salad BIG. Like not just bigger than normal, I’m talking HUGE.
My work colleagues are always taken aback by the size of my salads. But remember that bread is a calorie-dense food, and removing it from your lunchtime menu means you’ll have to increase the amount of stuff you put in your salad. Make your salad in a giant salad bowl and fill it to the top.
2. Make people jealous of your salad.
Salads do not have to be boring. Add the most delicious, flavourful things you can find. Think BIG flavours and TONS of textures, like olives, cashews, parmesan cheese, sundried tomatoes, chickpeas, bacon, pumpkin seeds, artichokes, goat’s cheese, etc.
3. Make your own dressing.
Pretty much all store-bought salad dressings are made using so-called “healthy” oils, like GMO soy oil; filler ingredients, like modified corn starch; and they’ll try their hardest to sneak sugar in their somehow. Make your own dressing. A super easy one I make that takes literally 30 seconds is: avocado oil, miso, lime juice, sunflower seed butter, honey, Dijon, black pepper, pinch salt. Add it all to a mug, stir vigourously with a fork, and you’re good to go.
4. Add something sweet – but choose wisely.
I find a sliced apple or pear to be the best thing. Blueberries could also work. I’d recommend avoiding sweet salad dressings, tomatoes, high GI fruits (e.g., melon), or things like dried cranberries and raisins – these tend to be high in sugar/carbs, which is precisely what you’re trying to avoid in the first place.
5. It’s not about calorie restriction. Up the FAT content.
Since you’re salad is low carbohydrate, upping the fat content will help you feel full and satiated. Remember that, in the absence of carbohydrates, our bodies do not store the fat we eat in our fat cells. In short, fat don’t make you fat. Aside from the dressing you use (which is effectively pure fat), add other fatty things, like hardboiled eggs, nuts, avocado, or seeds.
Note that there may be a slight adjustment period to switching up your lunchtime fare from carb-based to leaf-based. Your body and mind will need to adapt to the new set of macro nutrients you’re supplying them with, which they will happily do (it just takes time). You may also notice that you have to go to the bathroom more often (especially in the first few weeks) – but again, this will pass. The high fibre content of vegetables has a, for lack of a better word, “cleansing” effect that might feel a bit unpleasant for the first couple of weeks.
But, adjustment period aside, believe me when I say this: your body will thank you in the long run.