Day 122–All We Want is a Salad Bar

The reactions to our experience watching “What’s On Your Plate?” keep growing as we move forward and study our own eating environments. I asked the group of girls who saw the film what they learned and to them, it was astounding to learn how difficult it can be to change even one small part of the school food system. These girls are typically up for a challenge, so they zeroed in on that. Ok, so here are middle school girls complaining about how horrible the school lunches are and how little choice they have in their diet while on campus (yes, they could bring lunch, but that’s a whole other discussion about middle school social rules). They equate the quality of their lunch with how much the school cares about their well being…and let me tell you, this is one group of girls who do not think the adults in charge really care.

What do they want? A salad bar. How hard will that be? We’re going to find out.

Ellie brought up a very good point during the discussion. She noted that schools spend a lot of time, money and energy dealing with bullying, but they don’t do anything to address one of the personal aspects that encourages bullies to zero in on a target–being overweight. The girls agreed that being overweight or obese raises the odds that you will be bullied or harassed. So why aren’t schools using their bully budget to address that? It was a good point. If young people are asking for help with this issue, we should be listening.

Now this group of 4-6 girls is interested in starting a petition to have a salad bar in the cafeteria. Every journey begins with a single step and they are excited about moving forward. I’m sure it will be an eye-opening experience!

Day 121–Salads and Salad Dressings

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Our Saladpalooza nights feature whatever ingredients are fresh and handy (and sometimes some leftovers, too!).

 

Our Produce Box last week and this week feature lots of salad greens, so salads are BIG on our menu. We’re trying things like our Saladpalooza night (basically an at-home salad bar), mixing up our salad toppings, and having theme salads (Mexican salad featuring black beans, corn and avocado, etc.). What really makes salads a happy thing in my house, though, is the salad dressing. After reading the ingredients in most grocery store dressings, I decided to try making my own so I can control the ingredients and eliminate unnecessary sugars and high fructose corn syrup. Here is what I have learned about making salad dressing:

  1. It is much easier than I thought.
  2. I have most of the ingredients in my pantry already.
  3. My stick blender (immersion blender) is my greatest ally.

With a few handy ingredients and my little, easy-to-clean stick blender, we have been able to create very delicious dressings in about 5 minutes. On the topic of dressings, I have to give a shout out to another blogger who has given me a lot of inspiration to seek fresh salad ideas. A fellow blogger at Creative Noshing has been a great inspiration to me as we explore making different dressings. She has wonderful, fresh, recipes for dressings that have become our staples. Our favorites are homemade ranch dressing and a spicy Asian peanut dressing (which is also amazing on stir fry vegetables).

Salads are a great way to get your vegetables in and this time of year, when lettuce is king, you can get impeccably fresh greens as well as sugar snap peas, carrots, radish and other yummy salad staples. After a winter of cooked greens (not that I mind collards), it’s nice to fill up on salad that does not come from a bag!

Visit Creative Noshing for some superb dressing recipes. Whether you like ranch, Russian dressing, poppy seed or spicy peanut, she probably has a recipe that will have your family happily eating their greens!