Avoid These Pitfalls in Your Weight Loss Salads
Salads are the quintessential weight loss food, but they can do serious damage to your waistline if you are eating the wrong kinds. A restaurant salad can have over 1,000 calories and so many fat and carb grams that you might as well have ordered the ribs and mashed potatoes. Despite your best intentions, even a homemade salad can do damage. Here are some pitfalls to watch for as you build your perfect weight loss salad.
You probably know intuitively that dressing can be bad, but do you exactly how bad? The stats may shock you. They can add up to 400 calories and 40 grams of fat to your meal. You might as well drink a cup of heavy cream – yuck!
You do not need to douse your salad in fat to make it flavorful. Try the age-old strategy of getting dressing on the side and dipping your fork in it before spearing your next bite of salad. You can also use reduced-calorie, full-flavor Salad Dressings to keep yourself on track. They have one serving per package, so you can squeeze the whole thing onto your salad guilt-free. Plus, they travel well, so you can take them in your sack lunch or to any restaurant.
You already know that pasta and potato salad deliver enough carbs to get you through an afternoon or even a day, but what about that innocent-looking green salad? Opting for a salad instead of a burrito or sandwich is a good start, but it is not a guarantee of a low-carb meal. Watch out for common sneaky and not-so-sneaky starches in your salad.
- Tostadas and tortilla chips
- Chow mein noodles
For a satisfying extra crunch, opt for something a little healthier, such as seeds, nuts, diced apples, or even kale chips. You can also crumble Protein Chips or Protein Rusks in a variety of flavors to match almost any salad.
Pitfall: No Protein
The rules do not change when you base your meal around greens. Protein is still an essential nutrient that satisfies hunger for longer. Skip your protein in an effort to minimize calories, and you may be looking at a rumbling stomach and mid-afternoon snack attack. Not just any old protein will do, though. Keep it lean and mean. Here are a few great additions.
- Edamame or green soybeans
- Chickpeas or other beans
- Hardboiled eggs or egg whites
- Diced chicken breast
- Tuna or salmon
- Low-fat cheese
A blah salad today may lead to a pizza lunch tomorrow. Keep those salads appealing by changing them up from the bottom up. Rotate a variety of greens, such as spinach, lettuces, arugula, and spring greens; sample raw veggies from traditional cucumbers and tomatoes to less common fennel and beets; then top it off with proteins that include flavorful cheeses or marinated chicken, fish, or tofu. You never need to have the same salad twice, unless you want to!
You can make your meal more exciting and satisfying by pairing your salad with a healthy mate. In just a few minutes, you can serve your salad with a bowl of Protein Soup, a cup of Protein Chili, or a slice of Protein Brown Bread with 2 tablespoons of hummus. You will be adding no more than 100 calories to your salad.
Keep those salads in your diet, because they can be worth it for health and weight loss. Just be sure your salads are working for you with these easy tips!