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Deciding to Ditch the Salad

Have you ever gotten tired of eating salad? Either salad in general, or a specific salad?

I’ve heard from many people that they’re sick of salads, and it’s easy to understand why. They’re the go-to food for people on a diet, which makes them the very poster child of restriction.

Plus, a lot of people eating salads are trying to lose weight, which means they skimp on salad dressing, or they go for more watery, fat-free versions. That doesn’t help with the flavor.

And really, if you eat anything day in and day out, you’re much more likely to get tired of it. Especially when you’re eating it out of a sense of duty, not because you enjoy it.

Deciding not to finish the salad

I had my own experience of salad fatigue the other day.

This isn’t because I’ve been eating salads all the time. I’m only just getting back into them now that summer is approaching, since I don’t find them very appealing in winter.

So at the beginning of last week, I bought a bunch of salad supplies. Then I got a cold. And I don’t know about you, but somehow a salad doesn’t call out to me when I’m sick.

By Thursday, though, I was feeling enough better that I thought I’d like a salad. Except it ended up being a very big salad, since I was trying to use up ingredients before they went bad.

And I did like it when I started eating it. I liked the colors, the texture, the flavors of the different vegetables and dressing.

Except about 2/3 of the way in, it started to feel like eating it was a chore. I pressed on, but after a minute I stopped and asked myself why.

Why did I need to finish the salad? Couldn’t I just throw it out?

Like many people, I struggle sometimes with food waste, but in this case, I knew I could put it in my compost bucket. And I didn’t even have that much left.

I decided to chuck it. It felt amazingly liberating.

That’s when I realized how much pressure I often feel to finish foods, especially more nutritious ones. But forcing myself to continue wouldn’t have been a great option, either.

Food shouldn’t feel like punishment

It got me thinking of how eating certain foods, like salads, can feel like a form of punishment.

That was certainly the case for me in my earlier, more restrictive days. Back then, I did make myself eat salads in the winter because I thought I had to do that to lose weight. It meant eating a lot of pale and mealy tomatoes, watery and tasteless cucumbers, and limp lettuce.

No more! These days, if I’m having a salad, I plan to enjoy it. That’s part of why I prefer them in the summer, when I’m looking for something cool, crisp, and refreshing.

It helps that warmer weather is when leafy vegetables are in season, tomatoes are ripe on the vine, and I can eat cucumbers like candy.

Admittedly, we’re not there yet, at least here in Maine, where we’ve had a cold, wet start to the season. But the promise is there, and if I pay a little extra I can get veggies that are good enough for the moment.

Traditional salads aren’t the only option

It also helps to remember that if you’re looking for more nutritious foods, you don’t have to stick with the traditional salad.

According to Merriam-Webster, another definition of a salad is: “small pieces of food (such as pasta, meat, fruit, or vegetables) usually mixed with a dressing (such as mayonnaise) or set in gelatin.”

Personally, I’m not a fan of Jell-O salads, but I do like experimenting with other salad choices.

For example, this corn and edamame salad was quite tasty:

I also like marinating cauliflower with herbs and some olive oil, roasting vegetables, making salads with things like green beans, sautéed peppers and onions, and skipping leafy greens altogether.

Finding what works for you

The point is, if salads are getting you down, you don’t have to stick with them. You can find plenty of other nutritious options out there.

Have you experienced salad fatigue? If so, how did you get past it? And do you have any good recipes to share?

As for me, I’ll continue to enjoy salads in moderation, along with plenty of other options, as we move into summer. And I’ll let you know if I come up with any spectacular dishes.

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