Many people consider salads to be effective diet foods because they contain vegetables, but some salads are high in fat and calories and cannot be considered part of a healthy weight loss diet. Other salads are filled with nutritious ingredients so you are satisfied by eating fewer calories and only a small amount of healthy fat. Knowing the difference can help you achieve your weight loss goals.
Chicken and Greens
Skinless white meat chicken makes a healthy addition to your salad without adding a large amount of unhealthy saturated fat. Start your salad with a variety of mixed greens. Spinach, red leaf lettuce and romaine lettuce are all healthy greens that are low in calories, contain no fat and supply important nutrients, including vitamin A and iron. Add sliced chicken, thinly sliced red onion and 1 tsp. of olive oil to create a satisfying salad that is low in calories. Add a small sprinkle of low-fat cheese to increase your calcium and protein intake as well.
Protein is an important part of a healthy weight loss diet because it fills you up and gives you the energy to exercise to burn calories and shed pounds. Seafood, such as grilled shrimp or fish, adds protein to your salad so it can qualify as a meal. Shrimp and fish are good sources of protein but are lower in fat and calories than other protein sources like beef and chicken. Top mixed greens with 4 or 5 grilled shrimp or 3 oz. of shredded fish. Add sliced tomatoes, sliced onions and sliced cucumbers and top with vinegar.
Pear, Walnut and Blue Cheese Salad
Enhancing your salad with satisfying ingredients, like nuts and cheese, will help you eat less while boosting your nutrition. Pears are a good source of fiber, which fills you up for few calories and keeps your energy level stable for several hours. Walnuts supply protein, which also gives you energy, as well as unsaturated fats that satisfy your hunger and promote good health. Start with 1 cup of mixed greens, and then add pear slices, 1 tbsp. of walnuts, 1 tbsp. of blue cheese crumbles, a sliced celery stalk and a sliced green onion. A drizzle of honey can replace high-fat salad dressing.
Beans are filled with protein, which supplies the energy your body needs to get moving and burn calories. Adding beans to your salad is a low-calorie, high-fiber way to boost the nutrition of your weight loss diet. Start with dark green leafy vegetables, such as spinach or romaine lettuce. Layer on sliced onions and your favorite type of beans. Chickpeas pair well with leafy greens. Black beans and navy beans are additional choices. Toss with a small amount of vinegar and olive oil to make a salad that is satisfying but low in calories.
- "The Glycemic-Load Diet Cookbook: 150 Recipes to Help You Lose Weight and Reverse Insulin Dependence"; Rob Thompson and Dana Carpender; 2008
- "Low-Calorie Dieting for Dummies"; Susan McQuillan; 2005
- "Lose Weight the Smart Low-Carb Way"; Bettina Newman and David Joachim; 2002