This article has been Fact-Checked by Kendall Kennedy MS, RD, RYT
Eating the wrong kinds of salads can actually make you gain weight. Find out how to make the ultimate salad for weight loss to avoid this.
Salads are one of the most popular meals if you want to get more healthy but by doing a few things wrong it can do the opposite to you.
Use the following ingredients together to make the ultimate salad for weight loss.
A salad needs vegetables, that’s for sure.
Plenty of people already start overcomplicating this part. What is the lowest carb vegetable, which vegetable contains the most anti-oxidants and so on.
It’s true that these things matter to some proportion. However, by making it so complicated some people don’t get to the actual salad making and eating part.
There are two simple rules you can use to pick vegetables for your weight loss salad.
Rule 1: Use a variety of colors
Colors of vegetables are not the whole story but it is a useful rule. The different coloring in vegetables is usually because of different nutrients in them.
By eating different colors you naturally get a wide variety of different nutrients.
Rule 2: Vary within colors too
Even if vegetables have the same colors they can have different nutrients in different proportions. Your body needs different kinds of nutrients to stay alive and thrive.
These 2 simple rules will improve your salads.
It’s true that some vegetables are more nutrient dense than others but start with this and you will already see a big improvement.
The big benefit of vegetables is that they contain fiber.
Fiber is a kind of carbohydrate that doesn’t get absorbed as calories. This does not mean it’s not important. Fiber feeds your microbiome, the collection of microbes in your intestines that convert the food you eat into usable nutrients. The health of your microbiome influences your health.
Fiber also makes you feel fuller without absorbing more calories into your body. Hunger is a common reason people fail to stick to their diet.
The next thing your salad should absolutely contain is protein.
First of all, your body needs protein. It plays all kinds of important roles in your body. In the developed world it’s not very likely to happen but not enough protein could literally cause death.
Protein also helps you feel fuller and it helps you preserve muscle mass. More muscle means more calorie burning.
Do keep in mind that eating too much protein isn’t good either.
Variety is again what you want. You can opt for fish one day, chicken the next and plant-based protein after that.
3. Healthy calories
Some people go into full no-calorie mode when they start trying to lose weight. This is not the way to go.
If you restrict the amount of calories you eat by too much for too long your metabolism, the amount of calories you burn each day, will slow down. Then once you can’t take the hunger anymore and start eating like before you regain the weight and more.
Go at a healthy weight loss rate to avoid this.
Some example of healthy calorie ingredients are nuts, seeds (sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds) and avocados.
You do need to keep in mind that these ingredients are really calorie heavy. Weighing exactly can be more effort than you want but for this part of the salad it migh be necessary. A 30 gram difference in nuts for example can mean a +-165 calorie difference.
4. Top it off
This is the part where a lot of people mess up. They have this great salad in front of them, not too high in calories and a lot of nutrients and then they add a salad dressing high in sugar to it.
You might find the taste lacking when you first switch from processed foods high in sugar to whole foods. However, the longer you stay away from the other foods and the more you eat whole foods, the more you will appreciate the taste.
Sooner or later you won’t have the need to add anything besides perhaps some salt and pepper.
You can find recipes for healthy salad dressings if you absolutely have to add extra taste to your salad.
Does eating salad everyday help you lose weight?
Eating a salad everyday will certainly help you get started in the right direction. It will help you feel fuller for longer, it shouldn’t add too many calories to your diet and it will provide you with important daily nutrients.
However, you do need to keep in mind that the other parts of your lifestyle matter too.