If you’re watching what you eat then you know a good salad makes for a filling, low-calorie meal! It’s packed with the right combination of fruits and vegetables so you feel fuller without consuming more calories. Unfortunately, not all types of salads are diet-friendly. Supersized salads from fast food joints are flavored with fattening dressing and other unhealthy additions. Extremely small servings of salads aren’t any better. They are not filling at all. You end up feeling hungry within an hour of eating. So how do you make the perfect salad? In today’s post, we are dishing practical tips to make a filling yet guilt-free salad!
Avoid Salad Dressing
The first rule in making healthy, low-calorie salad is to avoid salad dressing. Salad dressings are usually made with a mayonnaise base. Mayonnaise is high in calories and preservatives. Rather than using regular dressing, use oil based salad dressing. Oil based salad dressing is fat soluble. This means your body won’t be able to absorb its oil. You can make your own oil-based salad dressing using canola oil or olive oil!
An excellent alternative to salad dressing is vinaigrette. This salad flavoring use balsamic vinegar with healthy oils. It’s a great way to add flavor minus the empty calories. Vinaigrette also contains very little saturated fat so it’s heart friendly. It also promotes weight loss and makes the salad even more filling. Some studies show that vinaigrette can help prevent abnormal surges of blood sugar after meals.
Use Different Greens
Variety is the spice of life. This is true if you’re making a salad! Although the lettuce is a salad staple, don’t be afraid to mix different greens. Experiment with different types of green leafy vegetables like romaine, spinach or iceberg lettuce. Different greens add complementing flavors to the salad. You can also add tartness by shredding pieces of citrus fruits or herbs like basil or parsley. All these options are not just delicious, they are also low in fat!
Sprinkle with Cheese
While cheese isn’t exactly diet-friendly, reasonable portions help add depth to the flavor of your salad. We recommend low-fat cheese. These are delicious but are less fattening. Cheese also adds protein to the salad so it’s more filling. It’s also packed with calcium, a nutrient that releases fat. Thinly sliced parmesan is a great addition to a salad. Or you can add several balls of mozzarella cheese.
There are many ways to incorporate protein in a salad. You can use several slices of grilled chicken breasts or salmon. You can also add edamame or tofu. A handful of almond or walnuts also packs in high-quality protein in a salad. Just make sure you keep the portions conservative.
Adding More Fruits
Adding more fruits in a salad not only improves the taste but also boosts its nutritional value. Just like vegetables, fruits are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. We recommend adding carrots, cucumbers, berries or pears to your salad. The key is to play with different textures and finding out which ones work!
Never Add Croutons
Croutons are made from refined flour. It’s not only packed with processed ingredients, it’s also full of calories. If you want add a crunch to your salad, opt for nuts or seeds instead.