Monday, June 20, 2011

Weekday Lunch

Soup & Salad - My Weekday Lunch

I work in Midtown NYC and lunch can be an expensive.  It's also easy to grab a burger and fries or other high fat temptations.  Salad bars can be pricey and offer high fat ingredients like crumbled blue cheese, bacon and artery clogging dressings.

A few years ago I started to buy all of the ingredients for a gigantic salad that I can graze on all afternoon.  I have a  mini fridge under my desk so storing the ingredients isn't a problem.  Not only do I save money, but the salads are delicious and healthy.  I don't buy the high fat choices so they're not even an option.  For variety I have a different soup on the side every day.   I figure you can eat all of the salad you want - so long as the dressing and ingredients are low fat and healthy.  I use the old reliable EVOO and some type of vinegar for dressing.  Be sure to read labels.  I really love Ken's Dressing but a two tablespoon serving contains 150 calories and 2.5 grams of saturated fat along with some other not-so-good ingredients like MSG.

Healthy Ingredients

Shopping List

One Package pre-cleaned salad
One Package Baby Carrots
One Container Grape or Cherry Tomatoes
One English Cucumber
One Container Pitted Kalamata Olives
One Container Dried Cranberries
One Red Onion
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Balsamic or Red Wine Vinegar
Sprinkling of Sea Salt (I don't use pepper on salads)

The salad is very easy to prepared - just toss a good handful of the already cleaned salad (Red & Green, Spring Mix - there are lots of options) in a big bowl.  Halve the tomotoes and carrots, chop the cucumber and onion, sprinkle the dried cranberries and olives.  Top with EVOO and Balsamic Vinegar (though Red Wine Vinegar is a nice option, too) and toss.

For the soup, I purchase ready made soups at Citarella's. I only buy the vegetarian varieties such as Lentil, gazpacho or Split Pea. They're delicious, and I usually squeeze fresh lemon on them and sprinkle with sea salt. One container costs $4.99.  I split them in half so one container is good for two lunches.  Future posts will feature recipes for healthy soups if you'd rather not buy the store prepared -though Citarella's does a pretty good job!

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