This term, as part of our campaign to promote staff wellbeing, healthy eating and a sense of togetherness, we have launched our Team Salad.
The intention is that this will be a lunchtime event each Friday. Reactions on announcing the initiative were a little mixed at first, from unfettered enthusiasm to ‘what if … there’s too much/too little/nobody likes it?’
One look at the images though will confirm that the first week produced a visual feast.
We set a few simple rules:
- No obligation to participate, but you only eat if you contribute.
- We would supply a salad bowl, olive oil and balsamic vinegar for dressing, as well as a salt and pepper mill.
- Everyone brings one ingredient. To avoid repetition we signed up with what we would bring.
- Vegetarians and vegans as well as those with food intolerances were to be accommodated by leaving those ingredients aside for others to add.
- Jarred and canned ingredients are acceptable too, as were pre-prepared salad vegetables.
- Warm ingredients were an option if so desired.
- Bring a different ingredient each week.
With the end of the first week back, the warm September sunshine necessitated open doors in the staffroom. Nobody pursued the warm ingredient option. Some staff took a bowl of salad as their whole lunch, others had it as a side dish to chicken or pasta and nothing remained in the bowl. Just a few grapes, olives and cherry tomatoes together with half a bag of rocket that didn’t fit the bowl remained at the end of lunchtime.
This week’s salad consisted of iceberg lettuce, rocket, cherry tomatoes, green and black olives, feta cut into cubes, black and green olives, sweetcorn, cubed beetroot, roasted butternut squash and sliced cucumber.
Any prior concerns were quite understandable, but a few non-participants were convinced. Conversation turned to possible warm ingredients: chicken, roasted new potatoes, couscous all receiving honourable mentions. Canned chick peas, sundried tomatoes and cannellini beans are possible additions in the future too.
Moving forward, we will buy a bag of couscous for the store cupboard. It represents good value, bulks out the salad and is easy to prepare. We may also bring in a salad recipe and invite everyone to contribute to that, but the joy of the first one lay in the invention.
The venture succeeded in the first week in bringing the team together in food and conversation on a Friday, was most certainly healthy and cost participants little in time or money.
Heads and senior leaders: this is a great way of promoting staff wellbeing and team spirit.
We look forward to seeing your team salads on the Facebook page and on our tweets. Please use the hashtags #teamsalad and #HealthyTeacherToolkit.