The Best Salad for Weight Loss
Follow These Steps to Build the Perfect Salad
As mentioned in my 30 Day Weight Loss Challenge, one of the keys to losing weight is adding in one large salad a day. I typically have my salad as lunch because I prefer a hot dinner and it’s easy for me to take to work. For breakfast, I have my Breakfast Smoothie and that holds me over until lunch. Three simple meals for the day! Many people load their salads with the wrong things, which will not help you lose weight or feel great.
Typically when you get a salad from a restaurant it’s loaded with tons of extra calories and fat! You may think you are making the right choice when you actually would be better off ordering a burger and fries. If you don’t believe me go to a typical restaurant’s website and look up how many calories are in their salads. You will be shocked!
Even when we are making salads at home it’s easy to add in lots of unneeded fat and calories. Hello, cheese and ranch! I’m not judging. I used to do the same thing, except I never liked ranch dressing. My favorite is french. I’m going to show you how to build the perfect healthy, filling, nutritious salad that will help you lose weight!
I have been making a salad like this for years. I’ve learned how to do it without spending a lot of money or lots of time in the kitchen. Once you get the hang of it you will realize how easy it is to have the best salad for weight loss prepped and ready to go. I guarantee if you have a salad all ready you will be a lot less likely to reach for the junk at mealtime.
Prepping is Key!
I cannot stress this enough! If you wait until you are starving and then start cutting your veggies and prepping your protein you will be reaching for the junk food to hold you over. I used to do it all the time. Even when we are out with the family for the day, I will bring my salad with me and eat it in the car or wherever possible. When you are prepared there really are no excuses!
Simple Steps to Prep for Success
- Go grocery shopping and get everything you need. Check out my Healthy Vegan Shopping List for Weight Loss post for some help. If you aren’t vegan just add in whatever meats your prefer and eggs!
- Cut up your veggies and put them in separate containers as soon as you get home from the store. This may seem time-consuming, but you will already have everything out. It will take an extra 20 minutes.
- When you have some extra time, prep your proteins. If you plan on using meat this is especially important. Make a couple of days worth and put it in separate containers.
- Make 2-3 days worth of salads at a time. It’s much easier to make a couple of salads when you already have everything out. Just leave the dressing off of course!
- If you plan to use grains make a couple of days worth of those as well.
- Get a really cool salad bowl to take with you if you are working or traveling.
Steps to Building the Perfect Salad
Step 1. Pick your Greens (Unlimited)
Benefits of Greens
- Boost Immune System
- Maintain Vision
- Increase Cognitive Function
- Increase Energy
- Reduce Risk of Heart Disease and Cancer
What Greens to Buy (I buy my greens already cut, washed, and bagged)
- Collard Greens
- Romaine Lettuce
Step 2. Pick your Protein (3/4 Cup)
Benefits of Protein
- Keeps you Feeling Full Longer
- Reduces Cravings
- Increases Muscle Mass and Strength
- Boosts Metabolism and Increases Fat Burning
- Promotes Healthy Brain Function
- Helps Maintain Strong Bones
- Helps Control and Balance Blood Sugar
Best Sources of Low-Calorie Proteins for your Salad
- Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast
- Lean Ground Chicken or Turkey
- 2 Eggs (hardboiled)
- 8 Egg Whites (hardboiled)
- Tempeh (found in the vegan section at the grocery store)
- Tofu (found in the vegan section at the grocery store)
- 6 Slices Low Sodium, Nitrite Free Lunch Meat
- Soy Burger (Look for one with more protein than carbs. I like the Vegan Soy Burger from Aldi)
- 4 Slices Low-Sodium, Nitrite Free, Reduced-Fat Turkey Bacon
Step 3. Add Other Veggies
Benefits of Vegetables
- Reduce the Risk of Cancer and Heart Disease
- Decrease Inflammation
- Eye/Skin/Hair Health
- Healthy Liver Function
- Increase Immunity
- Improve Memory
- Reduce Aging
- Lower Cholesterol
Best Veggies to Add to Your Salad
- Beets (I buy them shredded and rinsed in a bag)
Step 4. Add a Healthy Carbohydrate (optional) 1/4 Cup
Benefits of Healthy Carbohydrates
- Aids in Smoother Digestion
- Contains Vitamins and Minerals that Help with Neurological Function
- Rich in Healthy Carbohydrates for Energy and Muscle Building
- Fight Disease
Best Carbohydrates for Your Salad
- Sweet Potato
- Beans (Kidney, Black, Garbanzo, Lima)
- Edamame shelled
- Brown Rice
- 1 Low Carb Tortilla
Step 5. Add Additional Low- Calorie Flavor Enhancers (1-2 servings)
- Will Help you Enjoy Your Salad More
- Gives Your Salad Flavor without Extra Calories or Fat
- Helps you Continue to Eat a Large Salad Every Day
Best Flavor Enhancers for Your Salad
- Pickles (Chopped)
- Banana Peppers
- 5 Olives (Black or Green)
- Jalapenos (Fresh or from a jar)
Step 6. Pick Your Low-Calorie Dressing
This is where many of us go wrong. If you are loading your salad with high calorie and high-fat dressing you will not lose weight. I have experimented over the years and I have some tasty combinations that are low fat and low calorie. These will take your salad to the next level!
You will see I’m obsessed with G. Hughes’ brand. I will attach links to Amazon so you can see what it looks like, but I recommend finding it at the store. It’s much cheaper. I have found it at Meijer, Marcs, Wal-Mart, and Heinens. I also love adding hummus because it gives the salad a creamier texter and I find it more satisfying. If you’re not a fan of hummus, no big deal, just leave it out. If you leave out the hummus you can add another tablespoon of your fat-free dressing if you’d like!
My Favorite Low-Calorie Combinations
- 2 Tbs Fat-Free French and 2 Tbs Taco Sauce
- 2 Tbs Hummus and 2 Tbs G. Hughes Honey Mustard
- 2 Tbs Hummus and 2 Tbs G. Hughes Ginger Orange
- 2 Tbs Hummus and 2 Tbs G. Hughes Teriyaki
- 2 Tbs of any of your Favorite Fat-Free Dressings and 2 Tbs Hummus
I really hope you try these steps to building the best salad for weight loss and love them! I have never been a huge vegetable fan, but over the years I have learned tips and tricks on how to make them enjoyable. Now I love them and really look forward to eating them at every meal. Adding a huge salad into your day will improve your health in so many ways. Make sure to switch up your ingredients, so you don’t get bored.
Please comment below what your favorite combinations are and happy prepping!!
Steps to Building the Perfect Salad for Weight Loss
- Unlimited Greens At least 3 Cups
- 3/4 Cup Protein
- Unlimited Additional Veggies At least 1 Cup
- 1/4 Cup Healthy Carbohydrate
- 2-3 Tbs Flavor Enhancers
- 4 Tbs 2 Tbs Fat-Free Dressing + 2 Tbs Hummus, Taco Sauce or Hot Sauce
- Once all veggies, proteins, and healthy carbs are prepped measure and mix all ingredients in a large bowl and enjoy!