Can you lose weight by eating a salad every day? Absolutely, but you must make your ingredients diet-friendly; otherwise, you could end up actually gaining weight. Here's how to successfully lose weight by eating salads:
Choose Healthy Salad Greens
Make greens the base of your salad, these are all low in calories, but some contain more nutrition than others. There are many from which to choose, so you could easily start with a favorite, but you shouldn’t be afraid to try something new occasionally. Begin with a base of crispy greens and then add a smaller amount of fresh greens for more flavor and variety.
Some of the most nutritious greens you can use include:
● Swiss chard
You might also want to try:
● Leaf lettuce
● Experiment with different combinations for greater variety.
● Chop up the greens and other ingredients for a different texture.
● You can save time with pre-chopped, packaged carrots or cabbage.
● Add sprouts: alfalfa, mung bean, or broccoli.
Choose Colorful Vegetables
After a preponderance of greens, your diet-friendly salad should consist mostly of vegetables.
Go for the visual aesthetic of a rainbow. You will get a wider variety of nutrients and phytochemicals from having a rainbow of colors in your healthy salad. You don't have to hit every color category every time, but do try to get a variety regularly. You can also try slicing, dicing, cubing, and shredding your ingredients to change things up.
● Red: Radishes, red peppers, beets, red onion, and tomato.
● Orange: Carrots, orange peppers, orange tomato, cubed leftover cooked squash or sweet potato.
● Yellow and White: Yellow beets, sweet onion, fresh corn kernels either cooked or raw, yellow tomato, cauliflower, shallots.
● Blue or Purple: Purple cabbage or peppers, eggplant, cooked purple potatoes.
● Green: Peas, broccoli, cucumber, cooked brussels sprouts, celery, green onion, green tomato, artichoke hearts.
● Vary your vegetable selection. We all have our favorites, but you should try to commit to one new vegetable every week. You may be pleasantly surprised by finding a new favorite.
● There is no need to be too concerned about adding calories with veggies. In addition to their high nutritional content, most vegetables are low in calories.
● If the sugar or starch content of some veggies like beets or potatoes is a concern, limit the amount you use or omit them altogether.
● Be sure to wash your vegetables first.
Choose Healthy Fats for Your Salad
Without adding some healthy fat, you probably won't find it very satisfying or filling. While all fats are a significant source of calories, we need the healthy ones for our bodies and brains to function at their best. Just keep the quantity lower than other ingredients, a small handful will often be plenty. If you choose to add oil, limit it to 1-2 tablespoons.
Some healthy sources of fat for your diet-friendly salads can include:
● Nuts such as almonds, pine nuts, and walnuts
● Seeds such as chia, pumpkin, or sunflower
● Take time to measure these healthy fats before adding them. It's easy to accidentally add calories when you pour food directly from the bottle or box. Keep some measuring spoons and a digital scale close by to make it easier.
● Seeds and nuts can also double as healthy sources of protein.
Add Protein to Your Salad
If salad is your main course, you should add a lean source of protein to get all their benefits. You will also find that adding protein will keep you satisfied for a longer period of time.
You can add chopped deli meats, keeping with lean sources like turkey, lean roast beef, or chicken. Additional protein sources include:
● Meats: Chopped or shredded leftover lean steak, grilled chicken such as from Asian chopped salad with garlic-ginger chicken, turkey, and extra lean ground turkey.
● Seafood: Wild-caught Salmon, canned tuna, shrimp, sardines, and anchovies.
● Beans: Black beans, kidney, pinto, or chickpeas
● Grains: Quinoa, cooked brown rice, or wild rice
● Seeds or nuts
● A single serving of protein is approximately 3-4 ounces.
● If you add a larger amount, you'll need to reduce the calories somewhere else.
● You can add more dressing to increase your protein, which also boosts the calorie and fat content.
● Proteins are the building blocks of life. Every cell in the human body contains protein, so don't skip this category.
Herbs for Your Salad
A great way to add flavor is by adding chopped fresh, or even dried, herbs. Try one or more of these herbs in your next salad and see what a difference they make!
● Dried herbs are more potent than fresh herbs, so add them judiciously.
● You can find fresh herbs in the produce section of your grocery store.
All in all, yes you absolutely can lose weight by eating salads every day when you choose the right, healthy and delicious ingredients. Keeping in mind what you put in your salads also means that you don’t have to sacrifice flavor for the sake of health.