Salads diet weight loss

© POPSUGAR Photography / Jenny Sugar Is My Salad Causing Weight Gain?

I thought eating a big-ass salad made for the healthiest lunch ever. So I’d meal-prep five salads for the week, pile the veggies into a bowl, add a few more nutritious toppings, and chow down. Salads are supposed to be low in calories – perfect for weight loss. The only problem was, I was actually gaining weight.

How do you gain weight eating veggies, you ask? Well, I thought variety was the key to health, so my bowl mas made up of at least 12 different ingredients, none of which were measured. But when I got a food scale, measured out each ingredient, and plugged everything into MyFitnessPal, I almost dropped my salad bowl in disbelief. This was the nutritional breakdown:

IngredientCaloriesFatCarbsProtein50 grams massaged kale (about 1 cup)2550250 grams cucumber (about 1/4 cup)820.550 grams carrots (about 4 baby)2050050 grams red bell peppers (about 1/4 cup)1630050 grams yellow bell peppers (about 1/4 cup)1430150 grams celery (about 1 large stalk)82016 cherry tomatoes140306 grapes2106050 grams red cabbage16041Trader Joe’s marinated tofu (1 piece)1609416100 grams diced roasted sweet potato (about 3/4 cup)90.220.821/2 cup cooked quinoa11122041/4 cup chickpeas6511141/2 avocado11711611 tbsp salted sunflower seeds999432 tbsp Goddess Dressing1201222Total:90464.280.837.5

I couldn’t believe it. 904 calories? And that’s not even counting the oil I used to roast the diced sweet potatoes. Or the handful of sunflower seeds I crunched on while measuring a tablespoon for my salad. No wonder I was gaining weight! I was practically eating two meals in one sitting.

I know all the hacks to make a salad healthy, but I was making the mistake of simply putting too much into my bowl. This just proves that eyeballing isn’t the best tactic, even if you’re eating healthy foods. My lunch was definitely packed with nutritious ingredients, but it was way too packed.

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Knowing is half the battle, so now that I knew why I was gaining weight, I could do something about it. I continued to use MyFitnessPal and my food scale, and I just cut some of the ingredients down. In fact, I cut a few out completely. I skipped the quinoa and red pepper, used 1/4 of an avocado, one tablespoon of a lower-calorie dressing, and half the amount of sweet potatoes. I was able to get my salad bowl to just under 500 calories. Since I do intermittent fasting and only eat from noon until 7 p.m. each day, I was happy with this amount.

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Learn from my mistake and take this into consideration when meal prepping all your meals and snacks. Measure out your ingredients so you know exactly how much your daily food is adding up to. If you’re struggling to lose weight, this could be the one simple thing that pushes the needle!

Every year, the dietary sea change that occurs on the first day of January hits us hard. Gone are the champagne and (delicious) battered finger food of New Year’s Eve, replaced by joyless fizzy water and, inevitably, salad. According to a 2017 UK poll, two of our most commonly cited resolutions are to lose weight (33%) and to eat more healthily (32%). Yet research conducted by US News estimated that 80% of us will abandon these ambitions by the second week of February. Counter-intuitive though it may seem, I pin much of the blame for this on limp meal-deal salads.

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Researchers Charles Benbrook and Donald Davis developed a Nutritional Quality Index (NQI) to rate foods based on the nutrient payload of each portion. Four of the five lowest-ranking vegetables are salad ingredients: cucumbers, radishes, iceberg lettuce and celery . At nearly 97% water each, you’d do just as well to savour a glass of eau de tap.

Remove these nutritionally void ingredients and a Caesar salad becomes a small portion of creamy chicken topped with cheese and fried bread. It’s high calorie, high salt and sates your hunger for about 10 minutes. No wonder so many throw in the napkin.

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Salads perpetuate what scientists refer to as the “health halo” effect – a mental trick that surreptitiously sabotages your weight-loss goals. For example, researchers at Cornell University found that people who opted for low-fat foods over regular varieties ended up eating around 90 more calories than those who snacked as normal.

Meanwhile, a University of Chicago study found that eating foods labelled as “healthy” – as is commonplace on every supermarket salad aisle – only makes you hungrier . With no change to the ingredients, the virtuous moniker dupes your brain into feeling less full. What’s more, labelling the same foods as “tasty” reduced the number of calories test subjects consumed later that day. A seemingly sensible choice can send you calorie crazy, basically.

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Salads are also a routine vehicle for another well-trodden and ineffective weight-loss strategy: cutting carbs – one of my least favourite. There’s more to transforming your body at this time of year than the foods you eat, and if you’re trying to increase the amount of exercise you do, then carbs are absolutely your friend. Without glucose to burn, your energy levels will plummet and the efficacy of your workouts will suffer. Moreover, your famished body will turn to precious amino acids for energy and cause your metabolism to stall, meaning you’ll burn fewer calories more slowly. You need carbs for fat loss . In a Cell Metabolism study, overweight adults on a carb-based diet lost more body fat than those who ate equal calories on a carb-free, and presumably bleak, eating plan.

However, just because many shops believe that a salad should consist purely of lettuce, cucumber and a token tomato, that doesn’t mean you have to. Salads can be interesting yet still healthy and weight-loss-friendly – just think of them as another way to assemble the food you’re planning to eat. That said, you could simply combine your healthy proteins and vegetables between two slices of bread, which would take care of your energising carbs, too.

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People forget about the sandwich but, constructed at home, it can be as healthy a meal as any. Plus, it’s tasty, which means it’s scientifically proven to make sticking to your new eating plan easy. Avocado, spinach and bacon are a good start. I prefer mine crispy, thanks.

Contents

Do you replace your meals with salads? It’s not the healthiest option

If you are health conscious, you may opt for a bowl of salad as if by instinct when dining out.
But is the choice you are making really healthy and your best calorie bet? The answer may be no.
That’s because a few ingredients put together and named salad on the menu doesn’t make it healthy. Though people think they can never go wrong with salads, the bad news is they can.

“Truth be told. Nine out of 10 times the salads you order are in no way healthier than their opposite numbers on the menu. You would be surprised to know the number of calories the fancy additives like croutons, canned fruits, thick creamy dressings add to it, which absolutely throws the idea of clean eating down the tubes,” said Swati Sodhi, senior nutrition consultant with SQUATS, an online consultation platform for health and fitness.
NOT A MEAL REPLACEMENT
Manasa Rajan, coach at Cure.fit, a health and fitness startup, said: “More people trying salads as their healthier go-to meals is a significantly positive trend. With eating vegetables that are raw and lightly cooked, we have a better understanding of what we eat and how it impacts our health.” She added that salads in general nowadays have more of a health focus rather than a purely culinary one.
Salads are recommended to add fibre and micronutrients to our diet. However, one must not replace a meal with only vegetable salads as they lack protein. Many fall prey to fad diets and replace their whole meals with vegetable salads.
“In the long term, if protein intake is not taken care of, one can become deficient in protein which is very essential for all our regulatory functions. So, a part of the meal can consist of salads but not the whole meal on a regular basis,” said Shalini Arvind, chief dietician, Fortis Hospital, Bengaluru.
According to Sodhi, “most people don’t realise that our body needs a certain number of calories to perform its functions efficiently. Most beginners, who want to start a diet, start eating salads for all the meals of the day, thinking that they need to eat less to lose weight. However, eating less doesn’t mean starving yourself. Just eating lettuce with a blob of creamy dressing and some cherry tomatoes is not the right thing to do. In fact, this could lead to slower metabolism, which in turn can make you gain more weight in the long run.”

GOING WRONG
Salads, at their basic best, are a bowl full of veggies such as greens, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and carrots. But who wants only a plain salad? Not many, and they zero in on something fancy.
A unique salad on the menu (doesn’t necessary imply healthy) could add croutons (stale fried bread), canned fruits (sugar syrup laden), creamy dressings (mostly these contain more calories than the entire salad), fried noodles or loads of cheese (calorie dense). “These yummy little culprits can turn your healthy meal into a fiesta of calorie overload. Make sure you are mindful of what you are ordering and if possible, it is always better to customise your salads,” advised Sodhi.
According to Rajan, “the ‘dressings’ in the salad, which are seldom questioned, contain a lot of oil, salt, sodium, additives and preservatives, which can make the seemingly healthy salad calorie dense and full of unhealthy preservatives.”
Nowadays, more and more food joints are luring people with a variety of salads that are not actually healthy. To make the salads tasty and tempting, they decorate them with highcalorie toppings such as thick cream, cheese or mayonnaise. Thus, the whole idea of consuming less calories is invalid in this case. A healthy salad should include fresh and crunchy vegetables topped with a few spices and low-calorie oil, explained Arvind.
“One should consider the calorie content while eating salads. (For example) a salad with fried chicken dressed with mayonnaise is not healthy, while a bowl of salad filled with colourful vegetables, fruits or mixed greens like spinach, cabbage, broccoli and bell peppers along with carrots, baby tomatoes, beans and grilled chicken, fish or any meat cooked in healthy oil is a preferred bowl of salad,” she said.
Rajan too said that while trying to restrict calories to lose weight, it is very important to eat nutrient-dense foods with fibre, complex carbs, quality protein and healthy fats. Very low-nutrition and low-calorie lettuce-filled salads or thick mayonnaise-filled dressings wouldn’t serve any health goals positively.
Now the hygiene part. “If you are buying a readymade salad from eateries, you should be double careful about its hygiene standards. Salads can harbour a good number of microbes and can be a source of infection if they are not cooked properly and are ready to eat. One should make sure that the product bought is clean and it follows all the safety measures,” Arvind said.

SALAD SENSE
– A diet-friendly salad should be a well-balanced combination of carbohydrates, fats and proteins
– Choose vinaigrette-based dressings for your salads as opposed to the creamy ones
– Try adding more of dark green veggies
– Choose a grilled, steamed or sautéed portion of protein for your salad instead of a fried one, be it chicken, fish, tofu, paneer or eggs
– Don’t forget to add good fats. Choose from avocados, nuts or different kinds of seeds like chia and sunflower
– You can also add a cup of fruit, pasta, potatoes or quinoa for a complete meal
– Say no to creamy dressings, candied fruits or nuts, cold cuts and croutons in your salads
– Moderation and portion control are an absolute must
– Food items like avocados or cheese are calories dense, so exercise moderation


MAKE A HEALTHY ONE
Nutritionally, to make salads healthy, one must avoid adding excessive fat as the intention itself is to reduce excess calories. One can add sprouts and legumes to add the protein factor to it. Try to avoid adding too much of salt for taste. Dried herbs, onion or garlic powder, pepper powder, coriander leaves and lemon juice can be added instead of salt to make it healthier, said Arvind.
For a filling salad, add small amounts of low-fat cheese or lean protein like grilled chicken, shrimp or hard-cooked egg. Avoid too much drenching — olive oil and vinegar should be added in moderation to maintain the nutrients of the salad. Crunchy chicken or fried noodles and sauces should be avoided. Make sure the fruits and vegetables, especially the green leafy vegetables, are properly washed before using, Arvind added.
KNOW THE BALANCE
Sodhi said: “Choose salads with raw or roasted ingredients; sometimes sautéed vegetables along with the dressings contain excess oil, pumping up the calories. Choose oil-free, chemical-free, sugar-free or balsamic dressings over oily, creamy, heavy dressings.”
Quality ingredients and a good mix of complex carbohydrates, protein and essential omega fatty acids are essential. Use greens like arugula and spinach for their antioxidant benefits, colourful vegetables like beets, pumpkin, eggplants, tomatoes, nuts and seeds for their healthy fats and bright fruits like figs, berries, citrus for the phytonutrients. Whole grains and lentils are a bonus, she said.

Everybody knows salads are healthy, right? People who are on a diet often opt for entrée salads, whether they’re eating out or at home. But the truth is that a salad is not always your best calorie bet.

Consider: A chicken Caesar salad at Chili’s (loaded with salad dressing, croutons, cheese, and chicken) will set you back 1,010 calories and 76 grams of fat. On the other hand, a Chick-fil-A chargrilled chicken garden salad with fat-free honey mustard dressing has only 230 calories and 6 grams fat.

It’s the fixings that make the difference when it comes to salad calories. If you’re going to pile on the croutons, creamy dressing, cheese, bacon, avocado, mayonnaise-rich prepared salads (like coleslaw), meat, nuts, fried chicken strips, and wonton strips, you might as well order a double bacon cheeseburger and fries.

So what makes a diet-friendly salad? For a healthy salad, start with a variety of colorful veggies, fruits, beans, and mixed greens. When possible, opt for dark, leafy greens like arugula, spinach, and fresh herbs. (The darker the leaf, the more nutritional goodness it has.) Then, pile on grape tomatoes, shredded carrots, cabbage, broccoli, jicama, scallions, mushrooms, red bell peppers, roasted vegetables, or your other favorite vegetables.

For a filling entree salad, add small amounts of low-fat cheese or lean protein like grilled chicken, shrimp, or hard-cooked egg. Top off your salad with a small amount of avocado or chopped nuts to add some healthy fat. (Keep in mind that you need to control portions of healthful but high-calorie items like dried fruits, nuts, cheese, olives, and avocado).

But we’re not done yet: Salad dressing can spell disaster if you use too much of the wrong kind. For a lower-calorie salad, dress with a tablespoon or two of light vinaigrette or salsa, or a flavorful vinegar (like balsamic) along with a little heart-healthy olive oil. If you love creamy dressing, try diluting it with a little water or vinegar — or simply use less of it. A tried-and-true dieter’s trick is to order salad dressing on the side, then just dip the tines of your fork into the dressing before you grab each forkful of salad.

Follow these tips to create or order a delicious salad that is satisfying, low in calories, high in fiber, and full of nutrients. If you frequent a chain restaurant, check the web site to see which of their salads and salad dressings is healthier.

10 Foods to Help You Lose Weight

When it comes to eating healthy we all have our ups and downs. Even the most fit and health conscious people admit to falling “off the wagon’ during the holiday season. But the good news is that you can just as easily get back on track by incorporating more healthy foods that will not only help you shed excess weight but also improve your health. Simply incorporate these “fat-burning” foods into your diet by substituting them for your normal “fattening” foods. These foods are healthy and low in calories which can be eaten all the time as part of a wholesome, plant-based diet.

  1. Quinoa – Although a seed, quinoa is considered a grain as it has a fluffy, creamy, slightly grainy texture and a somewhat nutty flavor when cooked. It is high in protein, including all nine essential amino acids. Part of the same family as spinach, quinoa is high in fiber and minerals such as magnesium, manganese, and iron. Lots of protein and fewer calories make this not only a great food choice for weight loss but also a great plant-based meat substitute!
  2. Oats – Oats are rich in fiber and complex carbohydrates which are needed to keep your metabolism up by keeping insulin levels low after a meal. Eating foods that lower insulin levels is helpful in loosing weight since insulin spikes make your body think it’s time to start storing the fat.
  3. Beans –Beans provide you with almost complete nutrition and are a great meat substitute. High in quality protein and rich in fiber, this a great diet food as it helps keep you feeling full longer and insulin levels low. Also low in fat, there are numerous types of beans to meet anyone’s fancy. So pick the ones you like and add them to your meals.
  4. Hot Chili Peppers – Such as jalapenos, habaneras, and cayenne…. hot peppers can help burn a few extra calories and a little more fat according to a recent 2010 study from the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition.1 Researchers led by Dr. David Heber, tested a compound related to the capsaicin found in hot peppers which suggests that heat generated by peppers can cause your body to burn more calories and “oxidize” layers of fat. This latest study follows other studies finding hot peppers may increase metabolism.2 Although it is not a magic bullet, these compounds work in support of a well-balanced diet.
  5. Apples – Apples are a great addition to your weight-loss plan for numerous reasons. Apples are rich in vitamins and minerals and low in fat and calories. They are also high in fiber which helps keep your stomach feeling satiated or full longer. Apples don’t shoot up insulin levels like some other fruits.
  6. Dark Leafy Green Vegetables – Super calcium-rich dark leafy greens including kale, spinach, romaine lettuce, chard, collard greens, etc. are ideal for helping weight loss. One of the key components to weight loss is increasing your metabolism rather than starving the body of calories, which slows down the metabolism and hangs on to energy—fat—more intensely.3 Studies have shown that high-calcium diets favor burning fat rather than storing it, mostly by speeding up metabolism.4 These green leaves are also high in weight loss-assisting vitamin C and fiber as well as a plethora of nutrients for good health.
  7. Broccoli – This super food is packed with nutrients including calcium, vitamin C, folic acid, vitamin A, fiber, cancer-fighting nutrients and even protein. This high-calcium food can contribute to weight loss for reasons mentioned previously and are full of antioxidants that provide a large number of health benefits including decreasing the risk of heart disease and certain cancers.
  8. Green Tea – Green tea contains a chemical called epigallo-catechin gallate or EGCG that causes the brain and nervous system to work faster and helps burn more calories. EGCG is also a powerful antioxidant which can help fight disease.
  9. Lemons – Lemons stimulate the body’s digestive system. Rich in citric acid, lemons work with other acids and enzymes for healthy and effective digestion by stimulating stomach juices.5 The acidity of lemon juice can improve your digestion and balance blood sugar levels from a meal. Try seasoning your meals with some lemon juice or having a little fresh lemon juice in water before a meal to boost your digestion. Proper digestion is important not only for weight loss but for overall health and longevity.
  10. Papaya – Papayas are rich in enzymes, making it another food that is good for digestive health. Papaya contains the enzyme papain which digests protein as well as other enzymes such as alpha amylase and protease to help break down starches, carbohydrates and protein. This is essential for weight loss and boosting metabolism.

Losing excess weight and maintaining good health should be a gradual and practical process that becomes a habit rather than a phase. Make it a habit to choose healthy foods as much as possible and don’t worry if you have a “bad” day here and there, just fall back on your healthy eating habits.

Weight loss Salad with Chicken Cucumber And Avocado

This weight loss salad is healthy, vibrant, delicious and nutrient-dense. Cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and avocado are tossed in a fresh and tangy dressing to create a perfect pairing for any time of the day. I love this delicious salad for the fact that it is an ideal low-carb salad. It is so filling and easy to make too. Furthermore, it is perfect as a side or main dish, especially in the hot summer days when all you crave is something light and fresh.

Each bite of this weight loss salad is filled with the tender, juicy and flavorful chicken pieces. Most noteworthy are the crunchy and colorful vegetables, not to mention the tangy vinaigrette with the ambrosial touch of coriander. Every time I need to lose a few pounds, I replace a meal or two with this weight loss salad. Of course, regular exercise along with a healthy diet is essential in weight management.

To make it even easier, prep the chicken before time. When ready to eat, throw everything together, and you are good to go.

What are the benefits of this weight loss salad?

Avocados are fruits that provide nutritional value to the body and support weight control. They are packed with nutrients and minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, copper, manganese, phosphorus and zinc. They also contain Vitamin C, B6, B12, A, D, K, E, thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin. Furthermore, they are an excellent source of dietary fiber and energy. They are also a good source of monounsaturated fatty acids and have low sugar content. Therefore, avocados are considered one of the best foods you can eat.

Chicken breast is an excellent source of low-fat protein. Protein helps your body to build and maintain muscle mass. It is also an excellent source of selenium, phosphorus, vitamin B6, and niacin.

Tomatoes are the major dietary source of the antioxidant lycopene, which has been linked to many health benefits, including reduced risk of heart disease and cancer. They are also a great source of vitamin C, potassium, folate and vitamin K.

Cucumber health benefits include reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, healthy weight management and detoxifying the body. Also, they help in enhancing the skin, supporting eye health and alkalizing the blood.

Paprikas are low in calories and are loaded with good nutrition. All varieties are excellent sources of vitamins A and C, potassium, folic acid, and fiber.

Cilantro-Lemon Vinaigrette. Whether the goal is weight loss, a full detox, or just overall good health, lemons should be a staple in every clean and healthy diet. Lemons are a superfood that provides the body with Vitamin C, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, and pantothenic acid. They are also a good source of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, and manganese. On the other hand, cilantro rids the body of heavy metals and protects against oxidative stress. It also lowers Blood Sugar Levels and prevents urinary tract Infections.

Weight loss salad Ingredients

  • 1 English cucumber chopped in bite-size pieces
  • 200g cherry tomatoes or 2 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 small red onion, diced
  • 1 red or yellow paprika (I used both)
  • 1 – 2 avocados, peeled, pitted, and sliced

Chicken Tenders Ingredients

  • 300gchicken tenders
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp Black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ tsp Onion powder
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

How to make the Weight Loss Salad

Marinate chicken tenders with olive oil, lime juice, chili powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt, and cayenne pepper in a medium-size bowl.

Heat a pan over medium heat without oil. Cook chicken in a grill pan until cooked through, about 3-4 minutes per side.

Put cucumber, tomatoes, onions, paprika, and avocado in a large bowl. Top with chicken and drizzle cilantro-lemon dressing.

Cilantro-Lemon Vinaigrette Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 40 ml extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tbsp honey

How to make Cilantro-Lemon Vinaigrette

Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend for 1 minute.

Drizzle over the salad and serve.

Recipe Notes

  • Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
  • Only drizzle the dressing when ready to eat.
  • The chicken can store up to 4 days in the refrigerator.
  • To make it easier, prep the chicken before time and store in the fridge.

Pin 5 from 8 votes

Weight Loss Salad with Chicken Cucumber and Avocado

This weight loss salad is healthy, vibrant, delicious and nutrient-dense. Cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and avocado are tossed in a fresh and tangy dressing to create a perfect pairing for any time of day. Course Salad, Side Dish Cuisine Global Keyword salad, weightloss salad Prep Time 15 minutes Cook Time 6 minutes Total Time 21 minutes Servings 4 Author Jayne Rain

Ingredients

Weight Loss Salad Ingredients

  • 1 large English cucumber
  • 200 g Cherry tomatoes or 2 Roma tomatoes (diced)
  • 1/2 small Red onion (diced)
  • 1 red or yellow Paprika (diced)
  • 1 – 2 ripe Avocados peeled, pitted and sliced)
  • 300 g Chicken tenders (in bite-size pieces)
  • 1/2 tsp Black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Smoked paprika
  • Sea salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp Cayenne pepper
  • 1 lemon (juiced)

Cilantro Lemon Vinaigrette Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup Cilantro leaves (substitute with parsley)
  • 40 cup Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp Black pepper
  • 1 Lemon juiced
  • 1/4 tsp Sea salt (adjust to your taste)
  • 1/2 tbsp Honey

Instructions

Instruction for Weight Loss Salad

  • Heat a pan over medium heat.
  • Meanwhile, marinate chicken tenders with olive oil, lemon juice, chili powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper in a medium-size bowl.
  • Cook chicken in a grill pan until cooked through, about 2-3 minutes per side.
  • Put cucumber, tomatoes, onions, paprika, and avocado in a large bowl. Drizzle cilantro-lime dressing and mix.
  • Serve topped with chicken.

Instruction for the Cilantro Lemon Dressing

  • Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend for 1 minute.
  • Drizzle over the salad and serve.

Notes

  • Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
  • Only drizzle the dressing when ready to eat.
  • The chicken can store up to 4 days in the refrigerator.
  • To make it easier, prep the chicken before time and store in the fridge.

What do you think about this weight loss salad? Have you tried it out? Meet me below and share your thoughts. I would love to hear from you.

If you loved this recipe, you might also be interested in my Broccoli Apple Salad.

Tagged CHICKEN RECIPES, HEALTHY RECIPES, SALADS

Think salads are a foolproof lunch plan if you’re on a diet? Not so fast. Just because it’s green does not mean it’s healthy. While salads are a great way to get more essential vitamins and nutrients that most of us don’t eat often enough, it’s easy to load up on ingredients that make a good salad go bad. Here are seven things you shouldn’t even think about putting in your salad if you’re trying to lose weight.

RELATED: Follow These 5 Steps To Build An Absolutely Epic Salad

Crispy Chicken, Shrimp, or Tofu

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Crispy chicken, coconut shrimp, fried tofu, or any other coated protein that add unnecessary calories and, often, a dose of sugar—making your salad not so diet-friendly. “But you always want to add a lean source of protein to your salad to help satisfy and fill you up,” says New York City-based nutritionist Brigitte Zeitlin, R.D. Instead, opt for grilled chicken, shrimp, salmon, canned tuna (minus the mayo), hard-boiled eggs, steamed tofu, or edamame.

RELATED: The 20 Highest-Protein Veggies

Crunchy Noodles, Wontons, and Tortilla Strips

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“Crunchy noodles are like eating chips,” says Bonnie Taub-Dix, R.D.N., creator of BetterThanDieting.com and author of Read It Before You Eat It. All they add to your salad are calories (around 120 per half cup) and fat (half of those calories, at around 60 grams). Same goes for tortilla strips or wontons. Instead, toss in half a cup of dried chickpeas for crunch: Part of the superfood bean family, they have protein to fill you up as well as soluble fiber, which may lower cholesterol levels. Zeitlin suggests adding one to two tablespoons almonds, walnuts, pistachios, hemp seeds, or pumpkin seeds. “These guys add heart-healthy fats that help fill you up so that you feel satisfied and don’t look for unnecessary snacks between meals,” she says.

Looking for easy snack options? Check out these 13 delicious ways to spice up a tub of hummus:

Creamy Dressings

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Creamy dressings like ranch, Caesar, and honey-Dijon are loaded with calories (around 160 per two tablespoons of blue cheese dressing), sodium (170 mg) and not-so-healthy fats (17 grams, or 150 of those 160 calories—often times, surprisingly, from soybean oil). Atlanta-based nutritionist Marisa Moore, R.D., recommends getting flavor from vinegars like balsamic or champagne plus a drizzle of heart-healthy extra virgin olive oil. Or whip up a luxurious but healthier creamy dressing at home using ripe avocado or tahini to get the same textured effect.

(Learn how bone broth can help you lose weight with Women’s Health’s Bone Broth Diet.)

Fat-Free Dressings

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Fat-free dressings are actually higher in salt and sugar than the real stuff (two tablespoons of fat-free Ranch, for example, has between 270 to 380 mg sodium and two to three grams of sugar…the first ingredients of many brands are corn syrup and sugar!). Plus research has found that your body needs healthy fats to absorb some essential nutrients, like lycopene and vitamin A, in veggies. Instead, opt for olive oil blended with balsamic or apple vinegar or fresh-squeezed lemon juice. And portion control is key. “Too much of any dressing can be the biggest culprit in making a good salad go bad, easily adding an extra 200 to 300 calories to the bowl,” says Zeitlin. So stick to one to two tablespoons total.

Croutons

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While croutons bump up a salad’s texture and flavor, a small handful can add nearly 100 calories, over 200 mg sodium, and a couple of grams of saturated fat without much nutritional benefit, says Moore. She recommends adding seasoned walnuts for the same effect (disclosure: Moore has worked with California Walnuts). For a flavor boost, toss them in dried Italian herbs, herbs de Provence, or any other blend that works well with the other flavors in your salad.

RELATED: 7 Women Share Exactly What They Ate To Lose 50+ Pounds

Dried Fruit

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Dried cranberries, apricots, and raisins are loaded with around 22 grams of sugar (that’s almost as much as a Butterfinger bar!) and 100 calories in one-quarter cup—minus the filling fiber of fresh fruit. Instead, add one serving of fresh seasonal fruit, like half a cup of sliced grapes or clementines, for flavor and antioxidants. Or snack on half a cup of fresh berries after your meal, suggests Zeitlin.

RELATED: Do You REALLY Need to Worry About Eating Too Much Fruit?

Bacon Bits

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Bacon bits are mostly made with soybean flour and sunflower or canola oil and loaded with 180 mg of sodium and 30 calories in just one tablespoon (and who uses just one tablespoon!). They don’t add anything nutritionally to your salad, plus all that extra salt will leave you feeling thirsty and bloated. Instead, Moore recommends one to two tablespoons of unsalted smoked nuts for similar flavor plus a dose of healthy fats and fiber.

Colleen de Bellefonds Colleen de Bellefonds is an American freelance journalist living in Paris, France, with her husband and dog, Mochi.

The best diet plan to lose weight for salad haters

Julie Buchenholz’s salad days are over.

Ever since the 33-year-old Brooklynite quit eating salads last year — swapping out greens for chicken meatballs with veggie sides, cauliflower-crust pizzas and zucchini noodles — she lost nearly 10 pounds in 10 weeks.

“It seems very counterintuitive,” says Buchenholz, who works at the Camp kids’ store in the Flatiron District. “I’m at my wedding weight now, which is unbelievable.”

For years, virtuously nibbling on a light lunch of raw leafy greens (dressing on the side, of course) was considered an essential part of successful dieting. No longer: Health-conscious New Yorkers are tossing the lettuce and mesclun for heartier bowls of cooked veggies.

Not only has their digestion improved, but they’re also losing weight.

“You don’t need to have a cold salad to be healthy,” says Tracy Lockwood Beckerman, a registered dietitian in Midtown whose clients, Buchenholz among them, have lost weight while finding new ways to enjoy their veggies. She says that some of her clients find it easier and more enjoyable to consume the three cups of vegetables she recommends at lunch and dinner if they’re cooked down.

Salad-centric restaurants are changing their menus to meet the demands of those who don’t want a raw deal. Late last year, Chopt added warm bowls of veggies and whole grains to its menu, as Sweetgreen did in 2016.

‘You don’t need to have a cold salad to be healthy.’

“Our customers asked us to create a new menu category a bit more hearty,” says Chopt CEO Nick Marsh. He says the chain’s “Warm Bowl” has been its most successful launch ever, and that the company plans to double its offerings by this fall.

Nutritionists says eschewing salads often makes sense for those looking to lose weight or to simply feel better.

“Many people can’t digest raw salad or raw veggies properly and feel bloated after eating them,” says Molly Lee, a holistic nutritionist in Vancouver. “Additionally, a salad is not adequate and many feel hungry soon afterwards and end up over-snacking or overeating later.”

Christine Avanti, a registered nutritionist in Los Angeles, adds that many salads just aren’t that good for you.

Often, she says, they’re loaded with “unhealthy doses of cheeses and high fat protein sources” that essentially cancel out the health benefits of the vegetables they’re tossed with.

Nor does Avanti believe that a low-carb diet is the best way to slim down: Veggies, she says, are best consumed alongside wholesome carbs such as lentils, quinoa and whole grains to promote a healthy metabolism.

When clients “begin to add healthy carbs to their meals . . . they begin to lose weight,” says Avanti, the author of “Skinny Chicks Don’t Eat Salads.”

That said, cooked vegetables aren’t always virtuous: Lots of restaurants prepare them with butter, cheese and bacon grease, says Amy Shapiro, a registered dietitian in Nomad.

“Saturated fat and too much salt isn’t good for anyone in large portions,” says Shapiro, who suggests choosing vegetables cooked or sauteed with heart-healthy fats, such as olive oil. “Raw salads and veggies are free in my book, but cooked veggies from restaurants . . . need to be portioned out.”

But for some, including 32-year-old Jillian Gelman, going cold turkey on cold salads is the right move. The former Sweetgreen loyalist quit salads 18 months ago, due to gastrointestinal issues. She now focuses on eating warm foods over raw ones — and not only have her stomach issues improved, but she’s lost a few pounds, too.

“It’s definitely helped,” says Gelman, a merchandiser for Gap who lives in the Flatiron District.

“It sounds so crazy,” she says. Usually, “you’re on a diet and you’re like, ‘OK, I’m not going to have pizza, I’m not going to have French fries.’ ”

But now, she says, “I’m like, ‘I’m changing my diet and lifestyle — so I’m not going to eat salads.’ ”

The no-salad slimdown

Many leaf-hating dieters are turning to grain bowls for help losing weight. The key is keep the “anatomy” of the bowl in mind, says nutritionist Mareya Ibrahim, author of the upcoming cookbook “Eat Like You Give a Fork: The Real Dish on Eating To Thrive” (St. Martin’s Griffin; out June 4).

The ideal slimdown bowl, she tells The Post, breaks down thusly: 40% protein (a serving is 3 ounces for lean meat and fish), 30% carbs (with no more than a half-cup of starchy carbs) and 30% healthy fats. Pick one food from each category, and voilá: you’re ready to start your greens-free slimdown.

— Lauren Steussy

Proteins: salmon, chicken, turkey Non-starchy carbs: tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms

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Starchy carbs: corn, sweet potato, brown rice

Getty Images; ; Caitlin Thorne Hersey

Healthy fats: sunflower seeds, avocado, walnuts

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I Eat Salads Every Day But I Still Can’t Lose Weight. Why?

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“All I eat are salads, but I can’t lose weight!”

Sound familiar? It should, as thousands—if not millions—of Americans are currently frustrated with their efforts to shed unwanted pounds. To many of them, a salad represents the pinnacle of a healthy meal. The equation is simple: eat more salads, lose weight.

However, automatically assuming all types of a certain dish are nutritious is one of the most common mistakes committed by wannabe weight-shedders. While many salads are quite nutritious and can help keep you satiated, happy and energized, they are not all created equal. Researchers have found that American consumers are quite bad at estimating the calorie count of many restaurant salads.

In many people’s eyes, salads are universally healthy. They reason that if they grab a salad for lunch or dinner, it’s a far better choice than picking up a burger or footlong. This is not necessarily true.

Restaurant salads are notoriously deceiving. While many of them are legitimately wonderful options, many others are no better than traditional fast food.

Say you hit Chipotle for lunch. Since you’re trying to lose weight, you order a salad. All that means at Chipotle is you start with a bed of romaine lettuce instead of, say, a tortilla.

To this bed of lettuce, you add chicken, black beans, fajita veggies, corn, cheese, tomato salsa and Chipotle Honey Vinaigrette. To many people, this sounds reasonably healthy. Yet this salad packs 770 calories, just 10 fewer than you’d get from downing two McDonald’s McDoubles.

And get this—the salad actually has about 900mg more sodium and 7 more grams of sugar than the two McDoubles. It does contain a bit more protein and a bit less saturated fat than the burgers, but the point remains. A salad isn’t healthy just because it’s a “salad.”

Although many of the ingredients in the aforementioned Chipotle salad are quite healthy (black beans are a phenomenal food for weight loss, for example), 220 of its calories come from the vinaigrette. This gets to a major issue plaguing many restaurant salads—the dressings are often landmines of calories, sugar and unhealthy fat.

Chipotle’s Chipotle Honey Vinaigrette contains 12 grams of added sugar—more than you’d get from a fun-size pack of Skittles. You wouldn’t pour a handful of Skittles on your salad, but that’s exactly what you’re doing nutritionally with many restaurant dressings.

A lot of times, restaurant menus will list calorie counts for salads without dressing, leaving it up to the consumers to identify the nutrition facts for their particular dressing and then do the math. This can make it really easy to underestimate your calorie intake.

Just look at the signature dressing at another popular lunch spot—Chik-Fil-A.

A Cobb Salad with Grilled Nuggets sounds and looks quite lean. Lettuce, grilled chicken, hardboiled eggs, peppers, tomatoes—all healthy foods relatively low in calories. And indeed, prior to any dressing being applied, the salad contains only 400 calories. But empty a packet of Avocado Lime Ranch Dressing on it, and you just added an additional 310 calories and 5 grams of saturated fat to your meal.

Had you gone with the Light Italian Dressing, you’d have added just 25 additional calories. That’s a difference of 285 calories, and when the general recommendation for cutting calories for weight loss is reducing your daily caloric intake by about 500-600 calories per day, that’s a massive difference. It’s also one many people are completely oblivious to.

You can get healthy salads at both Chipotle and Chik-Fil-A, of course, but one wrong decision can significantly change the nutrition of your meal. And we haven’t even gotten to the really junky salads—for example, a full Waldorf Chicken Salad with Dijon Balsmaic Vinaigrette from California Pizza Kitchen.

Said salad contains a monstrous 1,320 calories, 94 grams of fat and 55 grams of sugar. You’re honestly better off eating the Garlic Cream Fettuccine or an entire Original BBQ Chicken hand-tossed pizza from the same place.

Or how about the the Chinese Chicken Salad at The Cheesecake Factory? That’ll be 1,740 calories, 106 grams of fat and 62 grams of sugar. Down two slices of their Original Cheesecake instead and you’d actually save yourself 80 calories.

This isn’t to say every restaurant salad is a nutritional nightmare—far from it. The Seared Tuna Tataki Salad at The Cheesecake Factory, for example, contains 490 calories and a robust 42 grams of protein.

But just because you ate a salad does not mean you ate healthy. Your body doesn’t classify a salad as a salad. It simply breaks whatever dish you consume down to its components. Don’t overlook toppings or dressings as insignificant. They can quite literally make or break the nutrition of your salad. Go grilled proteins instead of fried. Try to stick with crunchy veggies instead of wonton strips. Go fresh fruit over dried. Look for regular nuts rather than candied.

At the least, consider scaling back the amount of salad dressing you utilize when the dressing in question is particularly rich.

It’s unwise to declare any one type of dish as healthy, just as it is to demonize any one type as unhealthy. You can make healthy French toast just as you can make an unhealthy salad. Eating “salads” doesn’t automatically make you healthy. It’s about the quality and the proportion of the individual ingredients you consume day after day, week after week.

As outlined in this article, one of the best pieces of nutrition advice may be to simply eat “as little or no added sugar, if possible, as little or no refined grain, if possible, and as many vegetables as you can.” Find healthy ways to enjoy the foods you like—and learn to exercise some restraint when necessary—and you hold the key to achieving a sustainable healthy weight.

If you find yourself eating nothing but legitimately low-calorie salads and other very lean options yet you still cannot lose weight, read this.

Photo Credit: Juanmonino/iStock

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30 Salad Recipes for Weight Loss

Whether you are looking for a savory, sweet or even vegan-style salad, we’ve compiled a list of mouth-watering salad recipes that will complement a wide variety of palates. These are not your typical crouton/cherry tomato/Caesar side salads. Jazz up your diet with these colorful, nutrient-packed combinations and speed up that goal to lose 10 pounds—just in time for beach season!

Savory Salad Recipes

1

Wild Rice Salad

Wild rice, red onions, cashews, and arugula are the key players in this antioxidant-rich salad. This savory entree is sprinkled with fresh parsley and can even be topped with agave or honey for a little extra sweet kick. Unlike most rice dishes, though, this dish only costs 11 milligrams of your daily intake of sodium—much better than the highest sodium restaurant meals! The cashews interspersed throughout the plethora of veggies and mango adds a nice crunch to the forkful.

Get the recipe from Pinch of Yum.

2

Grilled Lamb Salad Bowl

Already had chicken twice this week? Same. Well, have no fear, because lamb is here! This lean, tender meat tastes phenomenal in gyros, so it’s time it gets introduced to the classic spinach salad. Providing an excellent source of B12, the vitamin responsible for giving you energy to power through that eight-hour workday, this red meat selection is hard to match. This luscious salad also packs a significant amount of the mineral zinc, which can help reduce stress levels and as a result, eat less. It has more sodium than you would expect for a salad, though—so go easy on any other salty foods.

Get the recipe from Real Food by Dad.

3

Hearty Detox Salad

Serves: 4
Nutrition: 382 calories, 16.1 g fat (2.1 g saturated fat), 391 mg sodium, 50 g carbs, 10.1 g fiber, 3.7 g sugar, 12.3 g protein

Now that is one plump portobello mushroom. The kale truly adds a vibrant flair to this nutrient-dense salad. Bearing 10 grams of fiber, this dish will help keep your body cleansed of those dirty toxins that slip into our food every now and then. If you are looking for a drink that also acts as a detoxifying agent to pair with this dish, check out Eat This’s rankings of the 22 best detox teas. With one of these many teas and this salad, there is no stopping you and your quest to rid toxic invaders that may be hiding out in your liver, causing you to bloat.

Get the recipe from Blissful Basil.

4

French Bean Salad

Crisp and chock full of protein, this salad is one you will want to feast on at lunchtime to curb those naggy afternoon hunger pains. Studies have proven that eating a midday meal high in protein (and in the morning) prevents you from overeating in the evening. Thanks to the eggs and beans, this salad offers nearly 20 grams of protein so you can quiet those hunger pangs.

Get the recipe from Well Plated.

5

Elevate-Your-Senses Power Bowl

One fun way to integrate more scrumptious root veggies into your diet is to spiralize them. Ditch the heavy complex carbs like those found in noodles and bread and sub them for a vegetable you may otherwise not grab for. Challenge yourself! This trendy blogger successfully performed this spiralized noodle technique with a generous serving of beets. Not only do beets house a great deal of powerful cancer-fighting phytonutrients, they also fend off inflammation through a nutrient called betaine. The quinoa is also a pivotal component in this dish, adding some extra protein with its nine essential amino acids— the only plant-based grain that does this! If you are a quinoa fan, it may interest you to check out some other kinds of quinoa bowls.

Get the recipe from Blissful Basil.

Sweet Salad Recipes

6

Mango Chipotle Chicken Salad

Mmm, mango! It’s a healthful way to sweeten up any dish—and reportedly keeps you from contracting the flu! Just one serving of this salad provides 131% of your daily vitamin C. But that’s not all the vitamin C in a mango does for you. It also, remarkably, aides in lowering LDL levels, i.e. the bad cholesterol that clogs your precious arteries. Also, did you notice the impressive amount of protein that comes predominantly from the chicken? For other ways to incorporate chicken into your meals, don’t miss our healthy chicken recipes.

Get the recipe from Creme De La Crumb.

7

The Summer Glow Salad

Organic strawberries, blueberries and blackberries make this salad an antioxidant mecca! But there is another mvp embedded in this abyss of berries and spinach: hemp seeds. These little guys are easy to miss, being so small and scattered. However, these seeds should not go unannounced. They are comprised of a plethora of omega-3 fatty acids, which boost satiety levels, and more importantly, help you drop those unwanted pounds. Sounds like this summer salad would be ideal to have all year long.

Get the recipe from VeguKate.

8

Roasted Pumpkin Quinoa Salad

“Gimme an A!” Why? Because this salad is stacked with vitamin A, due to the lovely orange fruit that sits atop the bed of fresh greens. Fun fact: The orange pigment in a fruit or veggie indicates that the food item has high levels of beta-carotene, which is essential for immune system function and even vision. With only 8.3 grams of sugar, this salad is safe for avoiding that unsightly pooch in your lower belly! For more powerful foods, don’t miss these foods to keep you looking young!

Get the recipe from Tales of a Kitchen.

9

Kale and Delicata Squash Salad

Serves: 4
Nutrition: 265 calories, 14.7 g fat (2.3 g saturated fat), 57 mg sodium, 30.5 carbs, 3.9 g fiber, 10.1 g sugar, 7.2 g protein

What an array of colors! This blogger really knows how to dress a kale salad. Delicata squash and pomegranate seeds give this dish a bright, sunset-like hue, and this dish is another wonderful way to get your fix of beta-carotene. Meanwhile, the pomegranate has some powerful properties worth mentioning, too. Not only does it have plentiful antioxidants, it also helps fight against Alzheimer’s disease. A polyphenol called punicalagin is the anti-inflammatory agent in the fruit that vanquishes traces of plaque that accumulates in the brain cells. Pretty impressive!

Get the recipe from Oh My Veggies.

10

Autumn Glow Salad

The most notable sweet aspect of this salad is the orange tahini dressing. The single tablespoon of maple syrup that’s mixed into this creamy, yet calorically light dressing, makes this salad stand out from the rest of its sweet opponents. Maple actually contains high levels of two minerals that are vital for muscle recovery—manganese and zinc—which will enable you to blast off that belly fat at your next workout.

Get the recipe from VeguKate.

Vegan Salad Recipes

11

Tempeh Tuna Salad

If you used to eat fish and are now full swing in the vegan diet, My Darling Vegan has got the solution for you: Tempeh Tuna Salad. This light delicacy has all of the flavorful elements you would expect in a real tuna salad, except no fish were harmed in the making of this salad. The tempeh is the head honcho in this dish, supplying the meal with an astounding 20.7 grams of protein.

Get the recipe from My Darling Vegan.

12

Purple Potato and Quinoa Salad

Purple potatoes, oh my. This seems to be a new phenomenon. A special phytonutrient called anthocyanin gives the potato its purple pigment. This gem of a root vegetable contains four times the amount of antioxidants a Russet potato would contain. What’s better is that this salad fulfills nearly 40% of your daily iron needs. Dig into this colorful masterpiece for a surplus of energy.

Get the recipe from Kathy Patalsky.

13

Vegan Cobb Salad

Just look at that protein intake! What ingredient is responsible for this colossal number? A lovely inactive form of yeast known as nutritional yeast (or “nooch”). We get it, the name is not all that appealing but do not let it deter you from sprinkling it onto your salads. Vegans have trouble getting enough of a mineral called B12, an energy powerhouse that is predominantly found in animals and their by-products. What’s shocking is that just 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast provide 130 percent of your daily need of B12.

Get the recipe from One Ingredient Chef.

14

Tomato Basil Abundance Salad

Serves: 2
Nutrition: 582 calories, 26.7 g fat (3.8 g saturated fat), 42 mg sodium, 67.3 g carbs, 9.6 grams sugar, 26.7 g fiber, 25.2 g protein

Not only does this salad have aesthetic qualities, it also packs a significant punch of iron—specifically, half of your daily needs! The light yet juicy explosion you receive from each bite of these farm-fresh heirloom tomatoes makes this meal both refreshing and tasteful. Sounds like the perfect meal to have on a hot, 95 degree-stricken day in the midst of summer.

Get the recipe from VeguKate.

15

Got-To Salad

This salad brings savory and sweet together to breed the perfect flavor combination. The addition of hummus to a flourishing, sweet potato-enhanced garden makes you question whether this could really be diet meal. Pair this dish with a cup of iced green tea to keep those metabolic functions roaring at full speed.

Get the recipe from Kathy Patalsky.

Seafood Salad Recipes

16

Winter Fruit and Shrimp Salad

Maybe you’re not up for eliminating all meat from your diet—and that’s A-OK because members of the fish family reap a significant amount of protein with minimal to no fat. This salad, in particular, has a lot to offer with regard to the myriad of fruit that is dispersed all throughout the shrimp. What’s surprising is that it’s loaded in riboflavin, a B vitamin that that is a main player in energy metabolism. More energy + working out = rapid weight loss. Add that equation into your daily grind to see those pounds fall off ASAP.

Get the recipe from The Creative Bite.

RELATED: Learn how to fire up your metabolismfire up your metabolism and lose weight the smart way.

17

Ahi Tuna Poke and Mango Salad

Perhaps Ahi tuna is not something you would normally grab off the ice in a supermarket, but maybe this salad will encourage you to start doing just that. This fish is extraordinarily low in fat! The good-for-you fats from this dish are from avocado and olive oil, two healthy fats that should be built into your diet.

Get the recipe from Foodie Crush.

18

Salmon Salad Veggie Power Bowl

When you hear about salmon, two things should pop into mind: dark pink and wild caught. These are essential characteristics to consider because the last you thing you want is a defunct slab of pale pink, mushy fish. Instead, you want to reap all of the nutrients a wild caught piece of salmon has to offer, like omega-3 fatty acids (without sky-high omega-6’s).

Get the recipe from Cotter Crunch.

19

Mango Shrimp Salad

Mango seems to be a popular fruit in this list of delicious, weight loss-promoting salads. And it rightfully should be! What most may not know about mangoes is that they have alkalizing properties that help your body reach a balanced pH. In other words, the tartaric and malic acids found in a mango helps reduce the acidity in your body, making it more tolerable for you to enjoy high acidic fruits like oranges. For more information on how to neutralize your body’s pH, find out more about the Alkaline Diet.

Get the recipe from Diethood.

20

Brussels Sprout Salmon Salad

For generations, Brussel sprouts have had an undeserved, bad reputation. Not only are these babies incredibly low in calories—about 38 calories per cup—they also dispense 124% of your daily vitamin C needs. Opt for this salad three days a week and you will lose 10 pounds in no time.

Get the recipe from Kim’s Cravings.

Wrap-Inspired Salad Recipes

21

Chicken Waldorf Salad

Who wouldn’t love to unveil a tasty chicken Waldorf sandwich in their picnic basket? But if you are trying to lose weight, this may not be the most feasible meal. Well, thanks to this blogger, your dream can now be a reality. This chicken salad has eliminated all sources of bread and instead sprawls across a canopy of leafy lettuce. Greek yogurt swaps for mayo so you can eliminate all of that icky saturated fat from your meal and only indulge in clean goodness.

Get the recipe from Recipe Runner.

22

BBQ Chicken Salad

Attention all Panera Bread Chicken BBQ Salad lovers, your saving grace is here; you can imitate this recipe at home for fewer calories. Score! And for those who just love to sink their teeth into a warm scrumptious barbecue sandwich, this is also the salad for you. Keep this salad low in carbs by skipping the tortilla strips and/or chips.

Get the recipe from Well Plated.

23

Steak Fajita Salad

Everything is good to enjoy in moderation, yes? Well, lucky for you, the rumors you have heard about red meat being a sin have been vanquished because red meat can actually aid you in your journey to a slimmer bod. Grass-fed meat, that is. This kind of red meat contains significantly less calories than its grain-fed counterpart. It also holds a greater amount of those lovely inflammatory-reducing agents we call omega-3 fatty acids. Red meat does not sound so scary after all. Check out what which other “bad” foods are now good!

Get the recipe from Damn Delicous.

24

The Chicken Gyro Salad

The Greeks sure know how to make a mean sandwich. Unfortunately, that pita can cost a bit too many unrefined carbs for just one meal. This salad is the perfect compromise! Enjoy the refreshing tzatziki sauce, the crumbles of feta and succulent warm chicken for only 28 grams of carbs. Not too shabby.

Get the recipe from Creme De La Crumb.

25

BLT Salad

Ah, the salad gods have spoken. The classic BLT can now be consumed in the form of a salad and will only result in a 12.3 gram-carb deficit. Make sure to switch out pork bacon for turkey bacon to keep those fat levels low. The main source of fat that comes from this salad is from the vitamin E-packed avocado.

Get the recipe from The Creative Bite.

Gluten-Free Salad Recipes

26

Celery Salad with Turmeric Vinaigrette

This light salad is the perfect low-calorie summertime meal—and it only takes 12 minutes to make, start to finish! Not to mention it has a killer vinaigrette. Turmeric has been trending as an inflammatory butt-kicking agent used to treat degenerative diseases such as arthritis and Alzheimer’s. But what many might not know is that when black pepper is paired with turmeric, it enhances the speed at which the curcumin (the anti-inflammatory agent in turmeric) is absorbed in the body. So, drizzle away to get rid of those achy muscles and joints!

Get the recipe from With Food + Love.

27

Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese Salad

Nothing helps you lose weight while feeling energized better than a beet. It just one of the many superfoods that act as a great topping to really any salad. At only 282 calories, this salad may be best enjoyed as a side. Studies say that if you are aiming to consume 1,500 calories a day, lunch should clock in somewhere between 325 and 400 calories for optimal weight loss. Add an apple to fill the remaining calories and receive some extra nutrition!

Get the recipe from Recipe Runner.

28

Roasted Grape and Arugula Salad

Serves: 4
Nutrition: 524 calories, 16.3 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat), 19 mg sodium, 86.9 g carbs, 4.6 g fiber, 8.3 g sugar, 9.4 g protein

Here’s a classy yet low maintenance salad to toss together for a daytime or an evening meal. And don’t let the higher carb content scare you; plant-based carbohydrates should constitute 45-65 percent of your diet. Just make sure to watch your carb intake at your remaining meals, but you won’t have to fret about that because this salad will give you the energy to power through some miles or spend extra time in the gym.

Get the recipe from Blissful Basil.

29

Arugula and Tofu Salad

Arugula with a bite, complemented with soft, sweet tofu makes this salad irresistible in both texture and flavor. Not to mention, arugula has some pretty incredible health benefits, specifically in its phytochemicals. These compounds actually inhibit cancer-cell growth and are notorious for fighting against prostate and ovarian cancers. Make this salad a weekly meal in your menu.

Get the recipe from Heart Beet Kitchen.

30

Vitality Superfood Salad

Serves: 4
Nutrition: 324 calories, 19g fat (2.8 g saturated fat), 367 mg sodium, 18.0 g carbs, 4.9 g fiber, 4.2 g sugar, 16.6 g protein

We’ve saved the best for last! This salad is stocked with superfoods like almonds quinoa, kale, blueberries and even chia seeds. The radishes also give this colorful salad a spicy hint. The best part? It only costs you 18 grams of carbs. Not bad for all of the nutrition that is stored in here!

Get the recipe from Nutritionist in the Kitch.

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The 7-Day Salad Diet Challenge

A salad diet doesn’t have to be a boring way of eating! It’s fun to switch things up a bit, and stray away from the usual greens, veggies and dressing combinations and kick your weight loss up with some flavor!

So if you’re looking to lose a few pounds or to incorporate more veggies and yummy greens into your salad diet, why not try your very own challenge?

The 17 Day Diet Blog is issuing a 7-Day Salad Diet Challenge: If you choose to accept, you are hereby invited to join in on a 7 day adventure — eat at least one salad per day for a total of seven days!

This salad diet challenge is designed to instill healthy eating habits, help you enjoy the idea of a salad and to help you lose weight. If you are so inclined, participate in this challenge for an extra week to form a new good habit!

Plus, if you happen to be on the 17 Day Diet, these are all approved, but keep in mind some might be for later cycles.

The 7-Day Salad Diet Challenge Rules

1. Eat at least 1 salad per day for 7 days
2. Stick to low-calorie, low-fat dressings (vinaigrettes are even better)
3. Eat more veggies than you normally do
4. Eat lean protein with every meal/salad
5. Experiment with new foods so you don’t get bored with your daily salad!
6. With increased fiber means increase your water intake — drink at least 8 8oz glasses of water per day
7. Get healthy and have fun!

17 Day Diet Cycle 1 Substitutions

For those of you on Cycle 1 of the 17 Day Diet, here are a few substitutions you may use:

1. Chicken breast for Quinoa
2. 1 boiled egg for black beans
3. Spinach for avocado

7-Day Salad Diet Challenge Recipes

Here are seven salads along with their recipes if you need some inspiration:

Day 1 – Spicy Thai Cucumber Salad

Spicy Thai Cucumber Salad (enjoy this recipe)

Day 2 – Quinoa Salad with Black Beans, Avocado and Cumin-Lime Dressing

Photo credit: eating-for-england.com

Quinoa Salad with Black Beans, Avocado and Cumin-Lime Dressing (enjoy this recipe)

Day 3 – Grown-up Tuna Salad with Creamy Balsamic Dressing

Grown-up Tuna Salad with Creamy Balsamic Dressing (enjoy this recipe)

Day 4 – Crunchy Sweet Apple Chicken Salad

Crunchy Sweet Apple Chicken Salad (enjoy this recipe)

Day 5 – Summer Slaw with Apples

Summer Slaw with Apples (enjoy this recipe)

Day 6 – Salad in a Jar (Quinoa, Mushrooms, Tomatoes and Spinach)

Photo Credit: fatgirltrappedinaskinnybody.com

Salad in a Jar (Quinoa, Mushrooms, Tomatoes and Spinach) (enjoy this recipe)

Day 7 – Cool Cucumber and Strawberry Salad with Vinaigrette

Cool Cucumber and Strawberry Salad with Vinaigrette (enjoy this recipe)

Quick Overview of the 7-Day Salad Diet Challenge Recipes

Cucumbers are perfect for healthy living and weight loss. They are filled with water and fiber so they’re sure to keep you full.

Continue Reading

Quinoa Salad with Black Beans, Avocado and Cumin-Lime Dressing

Quinoa is that special grain that is a complete protein. Get your extra boost of plant protein in this salad.

Continue Reading

Grown-up Tuna Salad with Creamy Balsamic Dressing

Who says eating tuna salad makes you a grown up?

Continue Reading

Crunchy Sweet Apple Chicken Salad

Apples can be eaten year round. Why not get your extra fiber in during the summer or fall months.

Continue Reading

Summer Slaw with Apples

Summer Slaw can be a perfect winter salad, too! Don’t let the name fool you!

Continue Reading

Salad in a Jar (Quinoa, Mushrooms, Tomatoes and Spinach)

The Mason jar can be your best friend when making salads a head of time. Be creative, too!

Continue Reading

Cool Cucumber and Strawberry Salad with Vinaigrette

There’s nothing like cucumber and strawberries in the same salad! Yum!

Continue Reading How are you doing losing weight on a salad diet? I’d love to hear from you!

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102 Pounds Lost: Marcia Looks Forward to Her Salads

Name: Marcia Case

Age: 32

Location: Venango, Nebraska

Before: 270lbs

After: 168

What was the “turning point” that prompted you to lose weight?

I stepped on the scale in March 2009 and nearly cried when I saw the big 270. My highest weight ever had been 279 pounds in high school and throughout the years I’d slowly lost weight, but being a stay at home mom, I had obviously started putting on the weight again. I had my 10-year high school reunion coming up that August and I was determined NOT to be that fat girl from high school when I went.

When did you start trying to lose weight?

I decided that day in March 2009 that enough was enough. By my high school reunion in August, I had lost 40 pounds.

How did you get started?

I started walking at least a mile every day at the high school track and I diligently counted calories – limiting myself to 1,200 a day. Weighing every single thing out and tracking it takes a lot of time and I’m usually the last one to eat my dinner, but it’s so worth it when you step on the scale.

What was your biggest challenge?

The hardest part about my new lifestyle was finding time for myself so I could go for those daily walks or going to the gym and not feeling guilty. My husband supported me 100 percent though, so that helped a lot. Also, twice during this journey, I’ve gotten pregnant, so accepting weight gain was tough, but I managed to continue my healthy eating lifestyle with both pregnancies.

Were there times when you wanted to quit or give up? How did you stay motivated?

Having my husband’s full support was the best motivator. When I was tired or wanted to give up, he was there to push me.

If you reached a weight loss plateau, how did you break out of the rut?

I ran into a lot of plateaus while losing 100 pounds and switching things up really helped. It sounds counterproductive, but I’d add more calories a few days a week, in order to jump-start the weight loss process, and it usually worked. Getting a gym membership and having access to different machines really helped keep myself from getting bored or plateau-ing.

What’s your current exercise routine?

I was in a rollover car accident in January and was put on restricted activity for awhile, so my routine was pretty stationary. I just recently started hitting the gym again. My favorite machine at the gym is the elliptical, and eventually I’d like to start strength training, but those machines intimidate me a little bit! In April 2012 I began running regularly and participated in three 5Ks that year, but since the accident, I haven’t been released to run yet. I’m aching to get back into it, though! I have plans for several 5Ks this year, along with wanting to start training for my first half marathon, which will be in October!

What’s your daily diet look like?

Consistency has really helped in this journey. I pretty much eat the same thing every day. Sometimes it gets boring so I switch it up a bit but knowing exactly what my menu is each day really helps keep me on track. For breakfast, I have oatmeal or cereal, yogurt (Greek or regular), and fruit. Lunch is either a big salad or a sandwich and a small salad. Dinner is usually pasta and chicken and some sort of vegetable. I also have snacks throughout the day – yogurt or fruit or maybe an English muffin with sugar-free strawberry jam.

What’s your favorite healthy snack or meal?

I look forward to my salads. Lettuce, cottage cheese, a little bit of ranch dressing and some shredded cheese – so good! I also eat a lot of grapes and bananas – it’s really hard to keep them in the house because the whole family loves them.

Do you have any specific suggestions for avoiding temptations?

Recognizing problem foods is the first step. I can’t have certain things in the house or it will trigger a binge. The best way to avoid temptation is to not buy those things that are hard to say no to in the first place.

What’s your life like after weight loss?

I don’t worry so much about breaking chairs or hurting my husband when I sit on his lap. Shopping is more fun when you’re not worrying about whether something will fit or not. But I still see that fat girl when I look in the mirror. I have a hard time accepting compliments because I just don’t believe that I deserve them. Being overweight, especially all your life like I was, isn’t just a physical thing – it’s a mental thing, too, and overcoming that mental block can sometimes be just as hard, if not harder, than the actual weight loss itself.

If you have any suggestions to others what would they be?

Realize that this is a lifestyle change and remove the word ‘diet’ from your vocabulary. This isn’t temporary, unless you want the weight loss to be temporary. Don’t give something up unless you’re planning on giving it up for life. Moderation is key – you don’t have to give something up to lose weight – just eat less of it. And document everything – before and after pictures are really helpful when you think you’re not making any headway. Same with measurements. The scale isn’t the only way to measure your success. And finally – tell people. I know it seems embarrassing, but you don’t have to tell them your weight. But having people know what’s going on helps keep you accountable, which is one reason I started my blog. My family never knew my starting weight until I lost a significant amount of weight but since they knew I was trying to lose weight, they were helpful and didn’t try to deter me or tempt me with things I didn’t want to eat. If I said “no thank you” they understood why, and having them on board with my plans was the most helpful support I could ever ask for.

What Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, Says:

Does It Work?

You will lose weight on this 900-1,000-calorie diet because of the extremely low number of calories — not because the toxins are flushed out by fruit.

Most of the weight you lose would be from water, and you’re likely to gain it back when you go off the diet. This plan isn’t a long-term solution or lifestyle.

Whether you will lose 9-10 pounds in 3 days is questionable. The plan is not based on credible research or scientific evidence.

Fruits and vegetables are key parts of a healthy diet, and most Americans don’t eat enough of them. Lean protein is also important, but so are many foods and nutrients not included in the plan.

There’s no proof that eating only plant foods will help you “detox” or burn fat. Your body does that through the liver and kidneys.

Is It Good for Certain Conditions?

There are no conditions this diet plan is good for.

The Final Word

Following any kind of diet for a few days should not create serious problems for most healthy people. If you are looking for a short-term jump start to quick weight loss, this diet will move the needle on the scale. Any weight lost during this 3 day diet will most likely be regained. However, although this diet plan is not sustainable for many reasons, it may be a good motivator for someone who does this diet to live a healthier lifestyle.

Supplement with essential fats, calcium, and vitamins D, B12, and riboflavin during the very-low-calorie diet. After 3 days, find a nutritionally complete, calorie-controlled diet that will give you enough energy to function, and get regular physical activity.

Check with your doctor before starting this plan to be sure it is safe for you.

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