The Salad Bar

The salad bar is a blessing for eating out if  you really are wanting to head in the direction of eating real food. 

When undergoing any dietary change, or when trying out a new way of eating or following a weight loss plan, finding somewhere that caters for your needs can be a problem.  Not so with real food.  Many eating places now have one of these bars where you can help yourself to cold food.  With some careful choosing you can mix yourself up an amazing real food feast.  Usually just avoiding anything slathered in sauces or dressings is all you have to do to keep it real.

A salad bar is a bit like a buffet with a counter of dishes filled with an array of colours, tastes and delicious odours of a variety of cold food, either freshly tossed with dressings, mixed together with mayonnaise or left plain.  Not just vegetables, though, usually there is also a choice of cheese, meat, nuts and seeds too, so you can build your own salad.  You take a bowl or plate or plastic container and do a pick and mix of your favourite stuff

They have become quite common which is a welcome sight for those of us who have become more fussy about the type of food we eat, because as with any buffet style food it means you can pick and choose and especially with salad this usually means healthy options in the choice.

The first time I met up with one of these bars was in a carvery.  For those of you not familiar with a carvery,  this is a pub or bar,  that does meals centred around carved meat, although they usually have vegetarian stuff on the menu too.  You choose your meat and then help yourself to however many vegetables you can stuff in.  There is also sometimes a salad bar too.  Now they have become so popular that  you can find them in restaurants, cafes and "all you can eat" food halls too.

Supermarkets are also now a handy place to make up your own mixed salad, which although a more expensive way of getting your five a day it also means less food waste if you are only feeding a few people or even just yourself because you don't have to buy a whole lettuce, a whole cucumber or a whole pack of tomatoes etc.

I have even heard that they re encouraging them in schools too.  In fact I recently came across this campaign  (http://www.healthy.ohio.gov/healthylife/createcomm/salad.aspx)  for more schools to take up this healthy idea.  (Take note anyone in concerned with UK school meals!)

The only downside which puts a few squeamish people off is, well you really don't know where previous customers have had their fingers.

The salad bar at home

You could also try this at home, not just for special gatherings but for everyday meals.   It can encourage kids to eat more good stuff if they are allowed to choose it themselves.  Have a few wee bowls in the middle of the table or on the kitchen counter filled with various good stuff for them to help themselves to.

And do you know what else, which is good news,  you can also these days order a salad bar meal online in places such as this  http://www.vitalingredient.co.uk/menu/salad-bar/ just like you would order a pizza, and have it delivered straight to your door.

Just beware.  Don't fall into the trap of thinking that just because it is a salad it means it is healthy.  If you want to stay real, the easiest way to do this is to keep it plain if you are not making the dressings and sauces yourself.

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