Lose Weight With Salads

Lose Weight With Salads - green salad, vegetables in black bowl  

Lose Weight With Salads

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Lose weight with salads. They will fill you up. And if you’re dieting, you’ll lose more weight if you eat more salads. That’s what we’ve always heard. But is this true? Walk into any restaurant during lunch or dinner and check out who’s eating the salads. Or when you’re out to eat with friends, don’t those with more of a weight problem than others often order salad instead of a heavier meal? If they’re eating so much salad, why are they still overweight?

Salads can actually be full of calories because of the high calorie, high fat salad fixings people put in them. A salad loaded with cheese, avocados, croutons and topped with a creamy dressing is not going to make anyone lose weight. Likewise, a salad of green veggies with diet dressing doesn’t have many calories, but it can’t substitute for a complete meal or even a satisfying salad. Anyone who eats that and hopes to lose weight with salads is going to be hungry later on. And you know what that means? A chance to snack on fast food or French fries just because they’re handy. The small calorie lunch they got from their salad didn’t keep them full long enough.

If you’re going to lose weight with salads you need to use low calorie salad ingredients. That seems elementary, but most people either don’t know this or pretend they’re doing right by their diet.

 What About Potato Salad or Ambrosia?

Just because something is listed as a salad on a menu doesn’t make it one. Skip the potato and pasta salads and anything with marshmallows in it, as well as salads with dressing already mixed into it.

The Definition of a Salad

Salads start with raw green lettuces such as romaine, spinach, kale, radicchio, endive, red leaf.   These are low calorie salad ingredients. Cabbages, red, white, purple also great in salads. Cut everything into small pieces. Next, put some vegetables in it. These should be raw. They will add more flavor and crunchiness to salad–and get you to chew more. The more you chew, the longer it takes to finish your salad and the less time you have during your meal to reach for something else–like bread or even dessert. They also provide nutrients and vitamins.

Vegetables such as cucumbers, celery, onions, shallots, even raw mushrooms taste great in salads. Of course, carrots and tomatoes are also good.

Salad Dressing

This is where it’s hard to lose with salads. Most commercial dressings are loaded with calories.  And trans fat, which contributes to belly fat and certain diseases. To avoid this, sprinkle some red vinegar on your salad and or some lemon juice. And add spices or herbs such as parsley, cilantro, chives, fresh basil. Some diet dressings don’t taste too bad, though there always seems to be something missing in them. Like the full-bodied taste of oil.

The real culprits are the creamy low calorie dressings. Creamy dressings are harder to mix into a salad and one tablespoon never is enough. My favorite brand of mayonnaise has a low calorie version that tastes just as good as the original version. At 20 calories a tablespoon I thought I could still enjoy a salad and have my dressing too. But how do you measure off a level tablespoon of a creamy salad dressing? You don’t. It’s always one-heaping tablespoon, which translates to 4 or 5 tablespoons. My salads got bigger and bigger and after a few months I had gained 10 pounds. I lost those pounds when I stopped eating salad with my dinner.

Full Meal Salads

If you are going to make a real meal out of your salad, you should add some protein. At least 3 ounces of lean protein. Avoid processed protein like bologna or turkey. These add calories but will leave you hungry later on. High-density tofu or fish such as wild salmon and tuna will give you energy and add some needed fat. You can also add walnuts, pecans and pumpkin seeds. Nuts and seeds are a filling way to also add fat to your diet. I like to get my fat sources from nuts rather than from oils or butter. Nuts fill you up and have protein as well as fat. Oil and butter just have fat.

If your dinner is a big salad, don’t add bread or rolls and butter to it. Or cake, thinking you saved so many calories by eating just a salad that you deserve it.

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