It can be hard to figure out what to eat when you need to lose weight, and a diet that only includes a few types of foods may be tempting because it is simple. A menu with only salad and protein can help you lose weight, but you would need to plan it carefully to reduce your risk of health problems from dietary imbalances. The best diet for weight loss also meets your nutrient requirements, and a nutritionist can work with you to develop the best plan for your individual needs.
To lose 1 lb. of body fat, you need to expend 3,500 more calories than you consume, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A healthy rate of weight loss is 1 to 2 lbs. per week, or an average deficit of 500 to 1,000 calories per day, and eating just salad and protein can help you lose weight faster if you choose low-calorie salad ingredients and lean sources of protein.
When you eat just salad and protein for fast weight loss, you may be able to get adequate amounts of the nutrients that are in fruits and vegetables, such as dietary fiber, potassium, vitamin A and vitamin C. Your diet may also be sufficient in iron, which is in meats, and vitamin B-12, which is in animal foods. Choose fatty fish or fat-free dairy products, such as milk, cheese or yogurt, to meet your calcium needs. You may need a multivitamin and mineral supplement for certain nutrients, such as many of the B vitamins, which are in enriched or fortified grains.
On a weight loss diet with just salad and protein, your breakfast could include fat-free cottage cheese, which is high in protein, and a fruit salad with berries, grapes and cut melon, apples or pears. A salad with greens, cut raw vegetables, lean protein, such as grilled chicken or canned tuna, and reduced-calorie dressing could be your lunch, and your dinner could be a serving of lean protein, such as a veggie burger, grilled shrimp or fish, and a side salad with greens. Snacks may include protein foods such as low-fat string cheese, beef jerky or hard-boiled eggs.
When you only eat salad and proteins, you may lose weight rapidly at first because of losing water weight as the result a low carbohydrate intake, which has a diuretic effect, according to the Mayo Clinic. A diet with just salad and protein may eventually become boring, and you may go off the diet before you reach your goals. If you return to your former eating habits, you may even regain the weight that you lost.
- Mayo Clinic: Weight Loss: Choosing a Diet That’s Right for You
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010; January 2010
- Mayo Clinic: Fast Weight Loss: What’s Wrong with It?; Donald Hensrud; November 2009
- Mayo Clinic: Low-Carb Diet: Could It Help You Lose Weight?
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Balancing Calories