Using salad tricks when dining on your next salad can help you shed those extra pounds you have been wanting to lose. Most people go way overboard when constructing their salad using all the wrong ingredients. You’re eating the salad to lose weight…not help you gain more weight!
Some of the salad bar items you see at restaurants and in your own home are purely sinful when dieting. Let’s face it, most of us are eating the salad for the benefit to fill us up so we don’t have too much of the rest of the main course and dessert. I applaud the one who can only eat the salad and feel full enough and content without binge eating right afterwards.
Use these healthy salad tricks to release more fat with these key, sometimes counterintuitive salad ingredients.
Use an oil-based salad dressing
Here’s why: Many nutrients—specifically vitamins A, D, E, and K—are fat soluble, which means your body can’t absorb and use them without some fat present. So a fat-free dressing is actually counterintuitive! In fact, a recent Iowa State University study found that people who ate salads dressed with a canola or olive oil-based dressing had higher levels of carotenoids (vitamin A-like compounds) in their blood. Plus, ample research shows these unsaturated fatty acids can help melt belly fat and make your salad more filling. Even better? Toss the oil with vinegar, a proven fat releaser: Studies show it can help prevent blood sugar spikes after meals.
Mix up your greens
Every type of green—romaine, radicchio, iceberg, spinach—boasts its own unique nutrients and healthy benefits. For optimal nutrition, mix ’em up (either within the same bowl, or from day to day). Also consider adding some herbs, like basil or parsley; they pack a strong punch of flavor and loads of disease-fighting antioxidants. And the more flavorful your salad naturally is, the fewer high-cal ingredients you’ll need to add for taste.
Say “YES” to cheese
When sprinkled in moderation, low-fat cheese helps people maintain a healthy weight, burn fat, and be less hungry, because it’s a rich source of calcium, which helps release fat. I like paper-thin slices of parmesan, a few balls of creamy mozzarella cheese, or some shredded cheddar.
Add in protein
Whether you choose grilled chicken or salmon, edamame or tofu, or nuts or seeds, you’ll release fat and feel more full. Stick to a healthy serving size to keep calories in check (a few ounces of meat, or a quarter cup of beans).
Throw in plenty of other veggies and fruits.
Research shows that many vitamins and minerals have unique synergistic effects—meaning that they’re even more powerful when eaten together. So pack your salad with as many other veggies or fruits as possible! Carrots, cucumbers, different colored peppers, broccoli, peas, artichokes, strawberries, raspberries, or pears are great choices to get in different textures as well as plenty of filling fiber.
Skip the croutons!
White-bread croutons have few nutrients and a high glycemic load, which means they cause a sharp spike in blood sugar. Instead, satisfy your craving for crunchiness with nuts or seeds and different veggies. Still want carbs? I like to add brown rice or protein-packed quinoa, which research shows decreases body fat and overall food consumption.
What salad tricks do you use?
Some salads can be waistline busters (especially from restaurants or fast food places) thanks to jumbo sizing and an overload of high-cal ingredients. But if you skip certain ingredients, like dressing or protein, your salad will be too skimpy, making you prone to hunger pangs soon after. Do you have any salad tricks you can share with us at Eat Out Loud? We’d love to hear from you in a comment!