Fit with Fave - Common Sense Changes for Better Eating - Girl of Cardigan

Okay, kids, it’s about to get real.

This week’s challenge might be a bit of a challenge, but we want you to try it.  Give it a go for a week or two or four, don’t give up, keep on keeping on, and see where you wind up.  You’ve already assembled your team, shrunken your plates, and swapped out one of your daily beverages for good old fashioned water, which is awesome.  Now here’s what I want you to do:

See that plate of yours?  The small one you switched to a few weeks ago, the 7-8 incher that you used to eat salad off of but now have to squish your whole meal on to?  It’s time to bring back the salad.

This week’s challenge: Fill half your dinner plate with salad or other green food.  Draw a line right down the middle of that little plate and declare that everything to the left (or right, whatever) of said line is going to be made of plants.

photo by the incomparable Shannon Hannon
photo by the incomparable Shannon Hannon

Take a breath, all you lettuce haters.  You’re gonna be okay.  But it’s tough love time.

We talked in the beginning of this challenge about it being time to eat like a grown up.  Here’s the thing:  if you want to live a long time, and feel healthy, and have good blood pressure and a happy little heart and all of those lovely things, survey says you need to eat a lot of plants.  I will not rob you of cheese, or steak, or hot dogs, or pulled pork sandwiches (or donuts), but the compromise is that you’re going to have to teach yourself to enjoy some vegetables.  Now, I’m not saying you have to tuck into an iceburg lettuce and carrot shard mountain with a smile on your face – try some different things!  Figure out what works for you.  If it’s a vegetable or fruit, I will count it as salad for this first leg of our run.  Half your plate is strawberries?  Fine.  For now, I’ll take it.  But don’t you pansy out on me here.  You need to try.  Try messing around with some fresh vegetables – it’s spring!  The world is abundant!  Roast some asparagus, broil some broccoli, saute the heck out of some spinach… try.

If you can make it a straight up salad, you may consider yourself superior to others.  Way to go, you!  And, for now, I’m going to leave you alone about what’s on the salad.  Whatever you need to put on there, fine, as long as about 90% of your salad is actual plant matter – toss in a bit of cheese, or some ranch, or BY ALL MEANS nuts.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be entering a “Pimp Your Salad” series, in which we will slowly makeover the salad half of your plate until it is so ridiculously full of nutrition that no one even notices the mac and cheese on the other half of your plate because you look like such a gersh dern healthy eating rockstar.  Which is the goal.  Naturally.

Half that plate goes green.  Downsize your other entree/side items so they fit nicely on their own side of the line.

If you need ideas, or struggle with how to find some veggies you like, or want some recipes, I will answer your comment below faster than you can say “Don’t give up!  You can do it! ”  Or at least by that very evening.  Scout’s honor.

Go forth and eat green food.


 A note on science: This idea to do a half plate of salad is basically a generalization of about a bazillion studies that suggest eating a diet with large amounts of fruits and vegetables does everything from prevents disease to improves blood flow to God knows what else.  But the good folks at Harvard sum things up nicely with their cute little plate illustration, and if you can’t trust the smarties at Harvard, who can you trust?  In fact, Harvard’s Nutrition page is actually pretty great in Fave’s opinion.  Check it out here.