A New Look at Salads for Weight Loss
When most of us think of dieting, we think of salads. And often, we think of nothing but lettuce on a plate, three times a day. While it’s true that salads are a classic dieter’s food for good reason – after all, they can be filling and have a satisfying crunch – the idea of a plate piled with lettuce and nothing but lettuce is a thing of the past.
Salads can be amazingly versatile, and even so high in calories that you might want to avoid certain types of salad if you want to lose weight! (A classic example of a fattening salad is one containing breaded, fried chicken, fatty dressing, cheese, and/or bacon.)
So let’s get away from the all-lettuce plate and the fatty, high-calorie salad and explore the realm of fresh, interesting, tasty salads that may help you with your weight-loss efforts. Here are some ideas.
1. Nuts and seeds
Walnuts, pecans, and almonds lend themselves nicely to salads, and they add healthy fats, crunch, flavor, and nutrients. Sunflower, hemp, pine nuts, and pumpkin seeds (pepitas) also add their own nutritious crunch. So many combinations can be created with various nuts, greens, fruits, and healthy dressings.
2. Whole grains
A whole grain salad can be very tasty, and a nice dish for a hot day or sunny picnic. Classics like tabouli, a Middle Eastern dish made with bulgur wheat, tomatoes, and cucumbers, are filling and healthy. Leftover brown rice can be tossed with vegetables and oil-and-vinegar dressing, and whole grain pasta salads are also healthy choices.
Beans and legumes add protein and nutrients to salads. You can cook flavorful beans and serve them over a bed of greens, or simply mix various types of beans with a tasty dressing and serve them over a bed of whole grain (or just serve them in a bowl as-is).
4. Lean meats
Incorporating lean meats into your salad boosts the protein content, thus helping you to feel full longer and even have more energy. Slices of cold, lean beef go well with a few blue cheese crumbles, and lean turkey can be tossed in with pecans and a fruity vinaigrette. Fish can also do well in salads – try mixing tuna with cannellini beans and tomatoes for a new type of tuna salad. Cold, grilled salmon can enhance a Caesar-themed salad.
5. Main dish salads
Have you thought about salads as a main dish? Whole grain salads can do very well as a main dish. Pasta salads can come in all kinds of varieties with different ethnic themes – Oriental rice noodle salad, for example, is very different from Greek pasta salad.
Greek Chicken Salad
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3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar,divided
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cucumber, cubed
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
1. Marinate chicken in 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper to taste for 1 hour. Grill
over medium heat for 10 minutes per side. Cool and cut into cubes.
2. Combine chicken, cucumber, tomatoes, bell pepper, onion and feta in a large bowl. In a
small bowl, whisk together thyme, olive oil, 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, and salt and
pepper to taste. Drizzle dressing over salad, and toss to combine.
Nutrition Information (per serving): Calories: 380, Total Fat: 21 g, Saturated Fat: 5.4
g, Cholesterol: 98 mg, Sodium: 660 mg, Total Carbohydrates: 15 g, Dietary Fiber: 3 g,
Sugars: 10 g, Protein: 32 g
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