It’s springtime and you want to lose a few pounds and become a healthier you. You start to think about making some changes to your diet and one of the first ideas that pops into your mind is—eat more salads!
Salad is a go-to dieting food, but not all salads are created equal. Depending on the ingredients you include, you could just be exchanging one calorie ridden food for another. To get you started, here are 6 salad ingredients that can helpyou stay on top of your weight loss goals.
You’ve probably heard about kale because it’s considered a “superfood” of healthy eating. Kale’s claims to fame range from cancer prevention to keeping your urinary and digestive systems in order. It’s also acknowledged as a fabulous weight loss aid because it’s low in calories and fat, high in fiber, and has a little kick of protein. That means that it will fill you up without adding on any extra pounds. While there are a number of ways you can prepare kale, one of the easiest is to use it as the base for a scrumptiously healthy salad.
You may be tempted to cut cheese out of your diet entirely when trying to lose weight, because of its high fat content, but don’t do it. While overindulging in mac n’ cheese probably isn’t going to help you reach your goal weight, sprinkling some Parmesan cheese on your salad will. This flavorful cheese contains only about 1 gram of fat and 22 calories per tablespoon. The kick of flavor, along with 2 grams of protein, will help you feel more satisfied with your salad, and help you avoid looking for a snack an hour later. Research also indicates that people who include dairy products in a well-balanced diet tend to lose more weight than those who avoid dairy.
Substituting a salad for one of your daily meals is a great way to cut back on calories, but if it doesn’t fill you up, you will likely be on the trail for something else to eat all too soon. Make sure that your salad is satisfying enough to convince both your body and your mind that you have eaten a complete meal. One great way to do that is to include some grilled chicken. The lean white meat of chicken breast is fairly low in fat and calories, but high in protein – making it the perfect addition to your healthy salad.
Like cheese and chicken, adding nuts to your salad can increase the sensation of being full after your meal. Sprinkling a handful of chopped or sliced almonds on your salad can also add that bit of crunch that you might be missing by skipping out on croutons. Almonds are rich in omega three fatty acids, fiber, and protein—all great for a healthy diet and slimmer waist.
If you’re looking to add a little sweetness to your salad, try tossing in some fruit. Strawberries are a great option. One cup of strawberries contains only about 50 calories and gives you 3 grams of fiber, as well as a healthy dose of Vitamin C. They also help your body produce a hormone (adiponectin) that helps burn fat.
Oil based salad dressings
When you reach for a dressing, consider one that uses olive oil, rich in monounsaturated fats, as the base. These “good” fats help you feel full for longer (so that you eat fewer calories), and also help lower your cholesterol, making them a heart healthy choice. Additionally, some vitamins (namely A, D, E, and K) are fat-soluble. This means that your body needs some fat in order to absorb vitamins; so a little olive oil can also help your body take in nutrients found in other salad ingredients.