Healthy Workday Lunch Every Day- How To Start a Salad Club!

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Happy New Year everyone! I promised you all we would start the new year off with an exciting post that might just revolutionize your workday lunches… here it is!!

Imagine spending less than $10 every week on a couple of ingredients, taking them to work on Monday and then having a fabulously nutritious, beautiful, tasty lunch every day for the rest of the week.  I know this sounds insane, but it really, truly can be done!

You could eat like this every day!

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My office started a salad club in March of 2015, and it has been going strong and gaining members ever since- nine months now.  Starting it up was very easy, and keeping it going from week to week has been even easier.

Since we started the salad club, I have lost 10 pounds.  My dietician is totally in love with each and every one of my lunches.  Every salad gives me about three servings of veggies.  According to Harvard University, eating five servings of fruit and veggies per day is proven to lower your risk of heart disease and stroke, lower your risk of developing high blood pressure, decrease your risk of cancer, improve digestive health and prevent cataracts and macular degeneration.

One of my recent salad club lunches.  It’s like having a gourmet salad bar in the break room every day! 

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The first questions most people ask me about salad club are “how do you get everyone to cooperate?” or “what do you do if people don’t bring what they’re supposed to bring?”.  This does require cooperation from members, but people love the convenience and cost effectiveness of the salad club so much, they will do whatever it takes not to get themselves kicked out.  Seriously, it just works.  It’s not like an office potluck where you have those people who totally don’t bring anything and then scam on all the good food you brought.  We have not had a single issue in nine months.  It has brought my colleagues closer together, fostered relationships that might not have blossomed otherwise, and it is so great to see my office mates gleefully skipping (I’m not even exaggerating about this one, it has happened) to the break room at lunch time, excited about the healthy lunches they were about to eat.

Another concern I hear about is boredom.  “Don’t you get tired of eating salad every day?”  Honestly, I love salad.  It’s one of my favorite foods, but yes, I do occasionally not feel like eating salad and I just go to the cafeteria and buy lunch- no big deal, that day’s salad club cost me less than $2.  Sometimes I will bring leftovers from the previous night’s dinner and just make a side salad from our salad bar to go with it.  We usually have a stunning variety on our salad bar so I can make a different salad every day of the week if I want.  We also do some really fun themed salads- we’ve done taco, Asian, Greek.  We also did a baked potato bar one week, and we’ve talked about having slow cooker soups to go with the salads too. Another boredom-busting aspect is all the new things you get to try. I had never tried pickled beets, but since someone brought them and they were sitting there and they were free, I put one on my salad, and you know what? I love pickled beets and often bring them myself!

With this variety, how often would you really get bored?

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How to get started:

  • Choose one or two people to be “in charge”.  These people will take the lead in the planning stage and will also make sure the sign up sheet gets put up every week, and make sure people are bringing what they need to bring, etc.  Make sure this is someone who will do the job but not go on some crazy power trip!
  • Send out an email to the entire office explaining what the salad club is, how it will be beneficial, and asking anyone who is interested to respond to the email.
  • Set up a time to meet with people who are interested to discuss how everyone wants to do things.
  • At your meeting, discuss what items will be shared, where they will be stored, when they will be set out and put away and who will do that.
    • There are a lot of different ways to structure this.  I’ve heard of salad clubs where one member buys all the ingredients for the week, where it is more of a potluck and there are a lot of homemade salads like tuna salad, etc., or where salad club is only one day per week.  These may work best for your office, but they seemed like too much work for us!
    • My group shares lettuce and all salad toppings except meat.  If people want that, they bring their own- it’s too expensive for one person to provide that for everyone.  Also, we usually say each member should have one bottle of dressing that they are sharing at all times but we don’t expect people to bring a bottle of dressing every week- we’d have tons if we did that.  We usually have people bring lettuce 2-3 times per week, and people who aren’t bringing lettuce during a particular week usually bring 2-3 other salad toppings of their choice that week.  We put up a sign up sheet on Thursday and people write on there what they will be bringing the next week so we know who is bringing lettuce and we don’t end up with 6 people bringing tomatoes and no cheese, or something like that.  It works well for us, but each office should do their own thing!
    • Label items for the salad club so people know what’s what, and perhaps designate an area in the break room fridge for salad club items.
    • Create your sign up sheet, and hang it up, and have everyone sign up for the next week’s salad club!

A recent week’s sign up sheet.  Some members don’t participate every week since we’re in a hospital and people work crazy hours or rotate through different areas- no big deal at all.  

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What questions do you have for me?  Don’t hesitate to ask!  The best advice I can give you is don’t overthink it, or try to have too many rules, and it will work.  We all agree that salad club is the best thing our office has ever done.  I hope your salad club is as wildly successful as ours has been!

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