Hate Salads? 5 Tips That Will Actually Make You Crave A Good Salad

I used to have this hate relationship with salads.

I dreaded eating them.

I felt like I was eating nothing more than grass.

On top of that, I never felt full or satisfied after eating a salad.

Seriously, how the heck do people even like this stuff?!

Then over the years I learned I was doing it all wrong.

I wanted to develop a love relationship with salads because I knew they are healthy- packed full of vitamins & minerals, and generally a low-calorie food.

I quickly learned, it’s not only about the leafy greens or tasteless salad dressing that make a salad complete, especially when a salad is the foundation of a meal. 

There are components of different food groups you should include in every meal, whether it’s a salad or pasta dish. 

Once I figured out these salad components, eating salads tasted amazing and left me feeling healthy & energized!

Now I eat a salad every day, either as a meal or for an appetizer. 

The reason why is because we don’t eat enough vegetables- and salads are a great way to get in some greens and essential nutrients that our body needs.

The tricky thing about salads is that it’s really easy to go overboard and load them up with calories. 

Caesar salad ordered at a restaurant looks healthy but actually can be anywhere between 800-1,000 calories!

Might as well order a freakin’ pizza!

Here are some things to pay attention to when it comes to making your salad- and what you can do differently to prevent your salad from being too high in calories.

1. Check that Dressing

Beware of the creamy dressings out there- they are packed with calories! 2 tbsp of a standard Caesar dressing is 163 calories and 17 grams of fat! Other creamy dressings include ranch, thousand island, blue cheese, French and bacon & tomato.

What to choose instead: I like to stick to vinaigrettes most of the time, but also note some can be really high in sugar. I try to aim for no more than 4-5 grams of sugar per 2 tbsp of a vinaigrette. 2 tbsp of a standard balsamic vinaigrette has about 60 calories and 4.5 grams of fat.

Other good choices include light Italian, light Greek, light champagne, Chinese dressing or balsamic vinegar with olive oil. If you absolutely can’t live without Caesar or ranch- get them in light versions.

2. “Substance” of your salad

People think salads are usually some leaves, a few croutons, dressing, and cheese. But not having enough substance in your salad isn’t going to make you feel full or satisfied and can ultimately do more harm in the long-run. If you aren’t eating enough, you’re going to feel hungry sooner which will just push you to nibble on calorie-dense foods like chips or cookies. 

What to do instead: In addition to the green leaves (spinach, romaine lettuce, arugula, kale, etc.), make sure you include more substance in your salad. And by substance, I mean vegetables! Some good ideas include cherry tomatoes, cucumber, olives, bell pepper, carrots, onions, broccoli, peas, radishes, beets, fresh cilantro, corn… the list goes on and on! Mix it up as well, you don’t have to choose only a few options, go crazy and choose as many as you want!

3. Toppings on Toppings

The make or break of your salad. I see it all the time, those gorgeous, healthy salads topped with loads of cheese, croutons, dried fruit, freshly chopped fruits, nuts, sunflower or sesame seeds, wonton strips, crushed baked chips, avocado, and hummus.

Now I’m not saying to avoid these toppings. I think these are some great ways to spice up your salad and change the flavors, but I want you to be mindful of the portion sizes.

What to do instead: For any one salad, choose your two favorite toppings and stick to those. Each of the toppings listed above have a good amount of calories in them. This doesn’t mean that they are bad for us but it just means to be mindful of how much we are eating. Along with choosing your two favorite toppings, read the labels and include the appropriate portion sizes so you don’t overload on calories.

4. Protein and Carbohydrate

A salad is not just leaves, veggies and salad dressing. You want to include ALL components of a healthy meal, which is protein and carbohydrate. Your fat is usually covered, whether it be salad dressing, avocado, cheese or a combination.

What to do instead: Shoot to include some lean protein in your salads such as chicken breast, ground turkey, eggs, tofu, or even fish. For carbohydrates, you can include anything. I personally like to roast garbanzo beans. Beans are a great source of plant-based protein which are also considered carbohydrates. Some other great options include brown rice, quinoa, farro, whole-wheat pasta, and barley.

5. Flavors!

It’s easy to fall into a “salad rut,” where you eat the same type of salad, with the same vegetables, and same old salad dressing for days, weeks, even months.

What to do instead: My favorite thing ever about salads is that there are so many different types you can make! Some of my favorites include Thai salad, Greek Salad, Chinese chicken salad, spinach pomegranate salad, Mexican bean salad, and pear & apple salad.

Mixing up the salads you eat will make you feel like you’re eating a whole different meal each time, which will ultimately keep your taste buds and stomach, one happy person.

Photo: https://unsplash.com/@foodfaithfit

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