No one likes wasting food or money but sometimes we toss out vegetables because they grew mold before we could eat them or we spend money in the cafeteria day after day instead of packing a lunch. Two team members at the HealthPartners West Clinic found a solution to this problem by creating the Salad Lunch Club!

Tiffanie Call, RN, and Dina Blumenfield, DO, Family Medicine Physician, were discussing how lunch would be easier – and cheaper – if they both brought ingredients from their refrigerators and pooled it together to make delicious salads.

The two employees slowly recruited more members because they always had plenty of food to share. Annie Listiak, Clinic Manager of the HealthPartners West Clinic, joined after she saw Tiffanie walking through the clinic carrying her colorful salad. “After seeing how delicious her salad looked, I couldn’t help but join!” Annie said.

Instead of packing a lunch, the Salad Lunch Club members look through their fridges for food, buy food from Community Supported Agriculture farms or bring food from their gardens that they can share. “It’s a pretty simple concept but it’s also very brilliant,” Tiffanie said.

Pictured above: The Salad Lunch Club show off their delicious salads. From left: Dina Blumenfield, Chris Miller, Denise Reinberg and Tiffanie Call.

“It’s easier than making something out of the limited food I have in my fridge. With the help of everyone else’s food, I can turn my boring vegetables into a beautiful salad,” Annie said.

Every week, the group brings lettuce or kale, a variety of vegetables, an avocado and occasionally tuna or eggs for protein. “We always joke that if we talk about what each of us is going to bring, it never turns out as good as it does when we don’t discuss it,” Tiffanie said laughingly.

Not using dressing is one of the Salad Lunch Club’s favorite practices. Instead, they squeeze a lemon and sprinkle salt and pepper over their salads. “A lot of people are used to pouring a heavy layer of ranch over their salads so it’s always fun turning people onto this healthier option,” Tiffanie said. “It just tastes so good!”

Not only is the club a great way to eat healthier, try new vegetables and save money, but it also builds a sense of community between the team members. Oftentimes, their schedules are so filled with meetings and appointments that they don’t get the chance to catch up with each other. While preparing food, they get the chance to connect with each other.

If you’re looking to make lifestyle changes to improve your diet, find a registered dietitian nutritionist near you: