Thursday, July 11, 2013

Big Green Salad #1

Many of us struggle with an issue we've "solved" in the past only to find ourselves in the same predicament again. I've been struggling with a little extra padding that is making me uncomfortable in my clothes. I eat very healthy foods . . . I just eat too much. I know I need to eat less, but over the last few months, every time I've tried to reduce the amount of food I'm eating, I end up ravenous and cranky! I've been very frustrated trying to figure out a plan of attack and then I finally realized that I already knew what to do. In the past, every time I've been successful at losing weight or maintaining it, I've eaten a lot of green salads -- low-calorie, high-volume, nutrient-dense green salads! So my challenge for this week has been to eat a green salad every day. So far it has gone well, even though I have been very busy with my work and the fun summer activities I've been doing with the kids. Eating the salads has helped me reduce the number of Points Plus I'm eating each day to a range that should end up with some weight loss and I have not felt shaky, cranky or homicidal at all!

I made this salad for my lunch the last two days. Both days I knew I was going to be away from home at lunch and my only options were to bring food with me or to eat fast food. The salad was satisfying and kept Points Plus low enough that I could still eat later in the day. Both times people made comments about how delicious it looked :)

I pre-cooked skinless, boneless chicken breasts in the Crock Pot the other night so I'd have them ready (just seasoned with some salt and pepper). I also buy the pre-washed greens for my salads. The same night, I washed, tore and put some fordhook chard from my garden in a bag and cut up the artichoke hearts and tomatoes, storing them in containers in the fridge. When I do this, I can throw a salad together in a matter of minutes.  I saw a great idea related to this on pinterest: you use a mason jar and fill it up with the dressing on the bottom, the denser veggies next, then the greens on top. It's a great way to make the salad the night before and transport it safely wherever you're going. Because the dressing is on the bottom, the greens won't get soggy. And it looks so pretty in the jar!

I measured the foods that contribute to the Points Plus values in grams just because I find it easier to enter.

Baby spinach (about 2 cups)
Spring mix lettuce (about 1 cup)
Fordhook chard (about 1 cup)
87 grams chicken breast
68 grams of raw avocado (sliced or cubed)
a couple of tomatoes
half a can of artichoke hearts (canned in water)
about 1/2 a cup of roasted red peppers from a jar
14 grams of sundried tomatoes from a bag (not in oil)

I happened to have some Fig Balsamic Vinegar and Strawberry Champagne Culinary Sauce in my pantry which were both low in calories and didn't have any weird preservatives in them. I mixed about 1 Tbs of each together and added a little salt and pepper. It wasn't too exciting but it was less than one Point Plus. It "wet" the salad and didn't compete with the flavors of the other ingredients so I was happy. I am going to spend some time researching dressing recipes and experimenting so hopefully I'll have some good ones soon!

The Weight Watchers Points Plus value of this salad came out to 8 PP which is great for such a huge amount of food! The protein from the chicken and the fat from the avocado kept me satisfied for a few hours.

So tell me, what do you put in your salads?

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