Even the Salad Bar Requires Self Control

Salad Overload

I’ve been graced with two salad bars this trip to Chicago: the first at Sweet Tomatoes, the second at Jason’s Deli. A good salad bar is a god-send for veggies and vegans. What do I mean by “good”? I’m talking anything that goes beyond the realm of wilted iceberg lettuce and potato salad. A good salad bar will have all the fixins – spinach, broccoli, beans, corn, carrots, nuts, seeds. But most importantly, the food will be FRESH and, preferably, organic.

Both Sweet Tomatoes and Jason’s Deli seem to fit the bill. There’s only one draw back (and this is my own problem entirely): the requirement of self control.

Believe it or not, it’s possible to overdose on vegetables, as I learned at Sweet Tomatoes earlier this week (see picture above). Not only did I load up on tons of veggies, but I topped those veggies with a mountain of dense foods like beans, corn, peas and sunflower seeds. I mean, it wasn’t the food itself, but the sheer quantity. In a way I should be proud – I really got the most out of that salad bar (the salad plates of those around me were not nearly as grand). But at the same time, I wasn’t hungry until lunchtime next day. I don’t think my digestive system was quite equipped to deal with the sheer quantity and variety of vegetables I fed it. It seemed to totally shut down!

This is why I don’t like buffets. Sure, it’s a good deal, but there’s too much risk of overdoing it (I learned this lesson the hard way at an indian buffet in 1994).

What’s your take on salad bars and buffets? Love em’? Hate em’? Any good ones I should know about?

Food Log | Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Toast with Almond Butter, Yogurt and Fruit

First Breakfast: Yogurt, Berries, Apples, and Almond Butter on Toast


Tomato and Hummus on Toast

Second Breakfast: Homegrown Tomatoes and Hummus on Toast


Salad Bar at Jason’s Deli

Lunch: Jason's Deli Salad Bar

Had lunch with mom and grandpa in Oak Lawn – gramps looooves Jason’s deli. We all got the salad bar. I was fairly impressed – Jason’s Deli has improved greatly since my last visit in Beaumont, Texas about 5 years ago. Their veggies were all organic, and the line-up featured tasty vegan treats like hummus and bean salad, plus the obligatory boiled eggs and cottage, neither of which are vegan, but do a very decent job of rounding out the protein portion for lacto-ovos and omnivores.

Grandpa ate his cauliflower with a side of chocolate pudding – it was funny.


Vegan Breakfast Taco with a Kale Salad

Dinner: Vegan Breakfast Taco with a Kale Salad

Recipe: Vegan Breakfast Tacos

4 thoughts on “Even the Salad Bar Requires Self Control

  1. Alicia

    I love salad bars because I feel like I have control and can avoid those things I don’t want (cheese, bacon, etc.).

    The hummus on toast with tomato is calling my name. Thanks for posting that. I heading to the kitchen in a few minutes to make some chickpeas for hummus.

    I lived outside Chicago almost 30 years ago, so anyplace I remember is long good now. However, if you have access to a bike a ride on the lake front downtown probably hasn’t changed. That was always a beautiful ride and the cool breezes off the lake were very welcome in the summer.

  2. Monica Shaw

    Ah, so you feel MORE control at the salad bar! Interesting! I definitely agree that the salad bar is great for avoiding stuff you don’t want. The trouble I have is when the salad bar has tons of stuff I DO want.. I want to try everything!

    I LOVE the lakeshore… wish I had my rollerblades with me.

    Enjoy the hummus and tomato on toast! Do you have a favorite hummus recipe?

  3. Alicia

    It really isn’t a matter of self control so much as it is self preservation. I have read so much about nutrition that I view many foods as toxic and have no desire to eat them. Cancer made a huge change in what we eat. When our chef friend is cooking that is when we have the most problems. He knows our weaknesses, never a good thing.

    A favorite hummus …… that is a tough one. I make one with smoked paprika and roasted red peppers that I like a lot. But, then again, I also like my roasted garlic hummus and my jalapeno and cilantro hummus. Okay, clearly I can’t pick. I just like hummus.

  4. Monica Shaw

    man all of those hummus ideas sound wicked, especially the jalapeno and cilantro… and the roasted red pepper… and the roasted garlic… i can see why you can’t pick!


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