Soul Origin Salads - are they healthy options?

Written by Guest post on Wednesday, 11 April 2018.
Tagged: eating out, fast food, guides, healthy eating, salads, tips

Soul Origin Salads - are they healthy options?

You’ve only got 15 minutes to buy and eat your lunch. You’re at your local food court and want something quick but healthy. You’re looking for convenience without added waistline inches; something that will sustain you through your afternoon back-to-back meetings. You spy a salad bar offering a choice of ready-made salads and fresh sandwiches. Soul Origin is one such food outlet - a new, fresh sandwich and salad bar chain. So how does it stack up in the search of better options that deliver your body’s necessary nutrients without gratuitous Calories/kilojoules? Take a look.

Soul Origin Salads

The salads range contains the lowest Calorie/kilojoule options on Soul Origin’s menu. Replacing the bread with leafy greens like spinach and rocket - which are naturally low in Calories/kilojoules and high in fibre - ensures you are kept full for the rest of the afternoon without the bulk of the bread from a sandwich.

Eating vegetables in your lunch also keeps your gut bacteria happy with all that delicious fibre. Happy gut bacteria ensure you absorb more of the nutrients in your meals, providing your body with what it needs to continue working long into the afternoon. No one likes the mid-afternoon energy crash!

Soul Origin QVB 3Smll

3 traps to avoid

Salads are a better option than sandwiches but you’re not out of the woods yet. There are still traps that can be detrimental to your waistline. Here are three traps to watch out for:

1. The Dressing

A strong point in favour of Soul Origin is that their dressings are mostly optional. Some salads – like their Chicken Pesto Penne – come with a dressing already added, but most are not pre-dressed. This choice gives you an added level of control over the final kilojoules in your salad. Here are our tips:

  • If your salad already has a dressing, don’t add another. One is enough.
  • Choose an olive oil or vinaigrette variety – these contain good fats, unlike the creamy varieties which are laden with saturated fats.
  • Use dressing sparingly – ask for a just a drizzle of dressing, or better still, ask for dressing on the side so you can add it yourself. You don’t need to drown a salad to enjoy the piquancy added by a dressing, and you could save yourself unnecessary kilojoules.

2. The Pasta Salads

Pasta salads are great and provide grains that are part of a healthy, balanced diet. However, too often they are not made from wholegrains but refined white flour. Too much of one of these can lead to your undoing. Here’s how to incorporate a pasta salad into your lunch without having that mid-afternoon energy crash at your desk.

  • Order the small size – this is all your body needs.
  • Utilise Soul Origin’s option of combining two or three salads in the one container – choose a pasta salad plus a leafy salad and a legume salad. This increases the fibre and protein content of the dish to keep you full, while reducing the kilojoules. Win-win.
  • Ensure there is a protein source such as chicken or beef or legumes as this will assist in ensuring that you aren’t looking for more food later.
    Soul Origin Pasta Salad

3. Protein Choices

Sadly there are hidden fats lurking in the crumbed and deep-fried proteins found in some salads. Who knows what’s in the crumbing on that chicken schnitzel? Who knows what type of oil it’s been fried in?

Stick to lean items like poached chicken, tuna, egg or beef. These help your body regulate blood glucose, which will boost your concentration level well beyond 3.30pm. Another healthy protein alternative is legumes aka chick peas, lentils and beans – a source forgotten by many. These plant-based proteins are lower in kilojoules, higher in fibre, and still provide the essential protein and nutrients our bodies need.

Top Picks for a salad:
  • Chicken Avocado
  • Green Lentil
  • Grilled Chicken and Steam Veg WITH Tuscan Veg Pasta (2 choices)

Remember to ask for a small or medium size.

Soul Origin BeefSalad

Soul Origin Sandwiches

Made on your choice of soy and linseed or rustic wholemeal, you can’t go wrong with these sandwich options. The bread is full of fibre to keep you full. The sandwich comes with good quality proteins like poached chicken or drained salmon, then finished off with lots of salad vegetables. It makes a great bundle of nutrition to help you get through the rest of your afternoon.

The Wraps give similar nutrition to these sandwiches and have the same fillings as the baguettes e.g. roast chicken, chicken schnitzel, chicken and avo, and roast vegetables.

Our verdict – a heartier but nutritious salad alternative.

Top picks for a sandwich:
  • The Grilled chicken sandwich on wholemeal bread.
  • The Chicken avocado sandwich on wholemeal bread.

Yes, the avocado provides more kilojoules but it also provides good quality fat that lowers the absorption rate of the meal. This reduces the peak and fall of your blood glucose level as you eat. Cheese and avodaco on the same sandwich is too much fat.

Wrap cut open 2 Smll

Soul Origin Paninis and Baguettes

The issue here is the portion size, which is generally double the size of a sandwich. This means double the kilojoules! Fine for an active tradie or athlete but not for sedentary office staffers.

Not only are the sandwiches a better size, but the breads are higher in fibre compared to these varieties, so your gut bacteria will thank you.

The best filler options are the same ones as the sandwiches – so we would recommend going for the options above.

Sauces have unfortunately already been added to a lot of the varieties offered – the star being aoilis. These are high in kilojoules, saturated fats and salt. As everything is pre-made before the lunchtime rush, you don’t have the choice of omitting these. Normally we would suggest you stay away from these creamy sauces.

4 ways to stay in control

If you do opt for a panini or baguette, here are our 4 top tips to ensure a balanced yet kilojoule controlled lunch:

  • Avoid the processed meats – salami, proscuitto and chorizo. These are high in saturated fats and salt, and low in protein. They have been linked to cancer.
  • Step away from the crumbed, deep-fried meats like the chicken schnitzel.
  • Take the top slice of bread off your Panini or baguette to create an open sandwhich – this instantly reduces the kilojoules.
  • Choose one with plenty of vegetables – variety equals taste, more nutrients, and more fibre to keep you fuller for longer.

While these options are better than deep-fried, fast food, they are not the best that Soul Origin has to offer. We suggest you opt for the sandwiches and salads before turning to these Paninis and Baguettes.

Soul Origin Sweets

Just because the sweets (cakes, muffins, slices) come from a place that sells salads and sandwiches, does not mean they are any better than the cakes you find in a cafe. Read our post on cafe culture for tips to not overdo these tasty but kilojoule-dense treats.

The verdict

With it’s quick service and great range, Soul Origin is a welcome addition to the food court scene. We like that we can now find healthier yet fast options that provide great nutrition to keep you going until home time. Of course, some items are better than others – that’s why we recommend the salads and sandwiches. Tasty and delicious, fresh and nutritious, we too look for a Soul Origin chain if needing a quick lunch on the run.

Thank you to dietitian Caitlin Delaney for this post.

References / External articles