healthy eating

The Health Director Goes to the Salad Bar

September 2, 2009 at 6:22 am , by

salad-barI’m Julia, the editor who gets the free vitamins and veggie power bars, not the free lipsticks. Whose husband peers into the murky depths of the newest antioxidant smoothie in the fridge and says, “What did you bring home this time?”

Giving out health advice for a living is like I have a voice in my head that says everything I eat should be healthy—especially at lunch where my co-workers can see what’s on my desk.

That’s why I love salad bars. Instead of watching the broccoli get all yellowish at home, you can grab just as much as you need, fresh today, plus 3 or 4 more other vegetables. Remember that a serving’s only half a cup (or 1 cup of leafy greens), so it’s not hard to get your minimum five a day. How much do you need exactly? You’ll be surprised.

It’s also easy get those two weekly servings of grilled or steamed fish you’re supposed to eat—at least where I go for lunch—even if you’re not all that good at cooking fish yourself. You do have to beware of obvious hazards like sweet-and-sour anything and oil- or mayo-drenched salads—the reason I usually stick to steamed or raw vegetables. And buy only from a bar with sneeze guards over the food and a staff that replenishes food frequently.

Here’s what I ate yesterday: roast turkey (couldn’t resist a slice of dark in addition to lean white meat), 3 raw asparagus spears; 3 raw broccoli florets; 2 big red pepper rings; small spoonfuls of hearts of palm, broccoli rabe in soy and sesame sauce, and red kidney beans (extra fiber). Dessert was 2 slices of mango and some raspberries.

I wasn’t hungry for hours—until that plate of chocolate cookies walked out of the test kitchen, right past my office to the table where we sample the food. I had to try one. OK, two. Chocolate has antioxidants, right?

Photo via JOE M500

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