When you’re trying to lose weight, chances are you’re going to be eating more salads. But with the right know-how, you can create a salad you’ll actually enjoy eating.
When it comes to losing weight, there are a lot of foods you have to get used to eating more of. Switching to whole grains, loading up on veggies, and endlessly chugging water are just a few of the healthy diet changes you must make.
Some of these changes are difficult and require a new perspective or an open mind. But one change that was never very difficult for me was eating more salad.
I love salad. Even before I started losing weight, I regularly ate salads — not because I was trying to be healthy, but because I genuinely enjoyed eating them. These days, I eat even more salads — usually at least one per day.
And because I eat so many I’ve now perfected the art of making the salad. My husband claims I make the best salads, and who am I to disagree with him? Here’s my step-by-step formula for creating the perfect salad:
Any good salad starts with a hefty base of lettuce. I tend to load up on the lettuce section, because a cup of lettuce is only like 5 calories, so you really get a lot of bang for your buck with the more you add. Plus a bigger bowl of salad feels like you’re eating more.
My preferred lettuce type is romaine, but I also like a good spring mix blend. My husband likes arugula, too. Sometimes I’ll even throw in some spinach if I have it on hand. If it’s green and leafy, throw it on in.
Here’s where you can really put your own personal twist on your salad. Basically any veggies can go well in a salad, so choose your favorites, chop them up and toss them in. I typically go for the classics: cucumber, carrot and red onion. But sometimes I’ll add in some celery and raw broccoli too.
Here are some other veggies you might want to try:
- Snow peas
- And more!
So far all we’ve got in our salad is veggies and lettuce and if you want to make sure this salad fills you up and keeps you full for awhile, you’ve got to add some protein. I usually go for chicken in my salad. Every week I’ll prepare a big batch of chicken, either baked in the oven or on the stove. Then, I’ll use it throughout the week for my salads. If I run out, I’ll usually choose a can of tuna as a replacement.
Other protein options could be hard boiled eggs, nuts, ground turkey or beef or even some sliced turkey. Whatever sounds good to you!
Just because you’re choosing a healthy option doesn’t mean you have to avoid the good stuff. Cheese can be healthy too! You just have to make sure you have a balance and not overdo it. My favorite cheese for a salad is feta, but shredded cheddar or bleu cheese crumbles also make a great additions.
Here’s where you really have to be careful with what you add in. Extras can add calories quick, and too many will turn your salad into a calorie bomb instead of a healthy meal. Instead of adding anything and everything, try picking just one extra at a time.
I am a crouton fiend, so my extra of choice is always a few tablespoons of cheese and garlic croutons. But you may want to try avocado, bacon, nuts, olives or something else. Choose something fun, so that you look forward to eating your salad.
I tend to switch up my dressing choices. One of my favorites right now is the Olive Garden Italian dressing. While it doesn’t quite taste like the restaurant version, it’s pretty tasty and goes great with the feta in my salad. I’m also a fan of the Bolthouse Ranch for a creamy option. It’s made with Greek yogurt so it’s lighter than most creamy options.
When choosing a dressing, don’t cop out and choose a light option. It’s not going to taste great, and it’s not actually that healthy for you. My advice is to choose what you like, but make sure you portion out the right amount. A little bit of a dressing you love is going to be a lot better than a lot of a dressing you hate.
You could also try to make your own dressing! Just go for one part vinegar and three parts oil. I like to combine balsamic vinegar and olive oil for a quick balsamic vinaigrette.
Final Salad-Making Tips
Your salad is complete! Before you dig in, here are a few of my top tips to make your perfect salad:
- Add your dressing last, but if you’re adding croutons, put them on after you add the dressing. If you add dressing right on the croutons, they could get soggy fast.
- If you’re not eating your salad right away, refrigerate it to keep it fresh.
- Make your salad the night before for an enjoyable lunch. It’ll save you time in the morning, and you’ll probably make a better salad when you have more time to make it than when you rush to make it before getting out the door.
- To make eating salad more fun, invest in a fun bowl or tupperware.
And there you have it! Now go forth and eat salad. Bon appetit!
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