Most mornings for breakfast I visit the salad bar at a supermarket close to where I work. They have a fruit section so I can have a little pot of low fat natural yoghurt with some fresh fruit. There is normally a selection of mango, watermelon, grapes, strawberries, kiwi and, my favourite, a red berry mixture. It’s simple, healthy and even with a little granola it’s still a pretty good start to the day.
The challenge comes when I also buy a medium ‘side salad’ to put to one side for lunch time. It’s a brightly lit selection but I’m pretty sure there are two clear sides – the good and the bad. I hadn’t noticed the little labels until recently and so I used to fill up a medium bowl (how big is medium by the way?) and then try and judge how good or bad my selection had been. There are a lot of creamy salads which are clearly no-nos. The coronation chicken for example should never be allowed anywhere near a salad bar. The coleslaw could be anything depending on the mayonnaise used in it. There are some couscous and chickpea options which could fall in either camp depending on the ingredients in detail.
My point is that the salad bar could be more helpful. Anyone visiting this part of the store wants to eat healthily. The psyche is probably that visiting the salad bar is all that’s needed – “I just had a salad for lunch”. I’m guessing that the medium salad bowl could have anything between 100 and 1000 calories depending on the selections made and that’s just not good enough. The little labels are tiny, there are no scales to help judge quantities, and there is no helpful advice for those wanting to do the right thing and, as I’ve discussed previously, I haven’t got the nutritional knowledge to make anything but the crudest choices.
Wouldn’t it be refreshing for a supermarket to take the lead on healthy eating? Instead of offering me promotions based on buying dairy products, consuming more fuel, and buying alcohol wouldn’t it be nice if just once in a while there was a five-a-day promotion?