Quick Tip Thursday #2: Smuggling Salad Toppers into Restaurants!

I smuggled some non-GMO tempeh and hemp hearts into a restaurant to add to their boring garden salad! Shhh...

I smuggled some non-GMO tempeh and hemp hearts into a restaurant to add to their boring garden salad! Shhh…

In the last several years, it seems that more and more restaurants have been expanding their salad options, offering more variety and selection. However, salads are not always the healthiest choice at restaurants, depending on what gets added to your lettuce base. Firstly, skip the iceberg lettuce and opt for more nutrient-dense, dark, leafy greens instead. Then, steer clear of unhealthy lettuce toppings such as high-sodium and high-fat dressings, processed cheeses, bacon bits, croutons, etc.

Sometimes though, restaurants offer so few healthy salad options that if you want a lean salad, you must resort to a plain and boring one, which typically consists of lettuce, tomatoes, onions, lemon juice, and light oil. The key to delicious and sustainable healthy eating is PLANNING. When I dine out, I usually know ahead of time which restaurant and what I will be ordering. If I see nothing healthy on the menu that excites me, I plan out how to alter the menu to suit my health needs and taste buds.

When I am dining at a restaurant with little to no healthy options for their entrée salads except for the boring garden salad, I order the boring garden salad with a light dressing on the side and I bring my own salad toppers! For instance, in the picture above, I was at a restaurant whose salad entrée menu only offered a garden salad, a Greek salad with feta cheese (I am lactose intolerant), a typical high-in-bad-fats Caesar salad, and a chicken salad with processed and rubbery chicken meat. So I planned ahead and I brought my own tempeh (which was non-GMO, by the way) and hemp hearts to add to their otherwise boring garden salad. I also asked for their light Italian dressing and hot sauce on the side, both of which I added to the salad in small amounts. (Don’t forget to ask for your dressing on the side, so that you can control the amount!) It was easy turning their plain garden salad into a delicious, high-protein, high-fibre, and omega-3-rich one! Hope you all get to check out this health tip!