Salad is a wonderful option for lunch and dinner, especially in warmer weather. It’s usually a much lighter meal and is the go-to choice for those who want to stay healthy or perhaps lose a bit of weight. However, they can often be unfulfilling and not very filling – especially if you’re on a diet or a detox.
If you find that you usually feel unsatisfied after eating a salad as your meal or are hungry again shortly after, it’s time to look at your ingredients. You can carry on making the healthy choice with salad but end your meal feeling satiated when you put the right amount of the right things into your food.
Include Lean Proteins
If your salad is your main meal for the day, you need to include a good portion of protein in it. Too often, we’ll put just a sprinkling of the meat on top, so it almost looks like a garnish rather than an integral part of the meal. This is very common in restaurants because the meat is one of the most expensive things going into the salad and they want to make a profit.
If you’re adding chicken, add an entire breast without the skin. If you’re adding eggs, try one whole egg that has been hardboiled and some egg whites to give you the protein without the cholesterol. You can also add a tin of tuna or juicy strips of steak, just make sure it’s lean and the right portion size for the meal.
Have A Range Of Textures
A great way to look at building a salad that will fill you up in a satisfying way is to layer it. So many of the ingredients that are common in a salad (lettuce, cucumber, cheese, even meat) are soft. This leads to the overall eating sensation being quite bland because it all feels the same in the mouth. By adding different textures, you are activating more nerve endings and making the sensation of eating far more interesting.
If your base is lettuce, which is soft in the mouth, add in some seeds that you can crunch into and give resistance against your teeth. You can counterbalance soft cheese or avocado with crunchy carrots or some toasted nuts and enjoy big wins this way if you’re still want to stay healthy.
Sticking To Vegetarian
You can still add plenty of oomph to your salad without compromising on being a vegetarian or a vegan. Nuts will give you a hit of protein and fat while adding interesting textures, flavors and a more satisfying feeling. Chickpeas, beans, lentils and soybeans are all great sources of protein and will make you feel fuller for longer after eating.
You can also mix things up by adding in some fruit for more fiber and some healthy sugars. Apple slices have a good crunch to them, while pomegranate seeds have a delicious sharp taste when you bite into them. Blueberries and raspberries are wonderful to sprinkle over a salad as they are a healthier alternative to most dressings.