Ready for a healthy salad? “When it comes to eating for weight loss, many people think less is more. This mentality often backfires. When it comes to making a healthy salad, what you add matters,” he says Nicole Stefanow, MS, RDN, a garden-to-table culinary nutritionist from the New York City area. “Starting a salad with a leafy green base is a great start, but it doesn’t have to be boring. Add foods to fill your tummy, satisfy your taste buds, and provide you with the nutrients your body needs for health, and weight loss can be a gratifying side effect.” Below, 12 such ingredients to supercharge your salads .
1. Pickled vegetables
“Aside from adding beautiful bright colors to your plate, topping your salad with pickles can help you lose weight. Fermented foods help create a healthy gut environment by introducing good bacteria into your system,” says Stefanow. “A to learn from last year suggests that a probiotic strain of Lactobacillus fermentum extracted from naturally fermented vegetables reduced abnormal weight gain, prevented visceral fat accumulation, improved cholesterol levels and decreased inflammatory markers in subjects.”
Lauren Slayton, MS, RD, author and podcast host, is a fan of kimchi, a traditional Korean dish typically made with fermented cabbage in particular. She suggests that customers add a tablespoon of kimchi to salads whenever they can. “Just one tablespoon of this contains billions of probiotics, which are great for gut health and digestion,” says Slayton. “If you’re not a kimchi lover, there’s fermented carrots, DailyGoodTipss, and cucumbers. You can find them in the refrigerated section of grocery stores.”
One of our favorite pickles? These delightful Indian-inspired pickled carrots and cauliflower.
2. Hemp Seeds
“One vegan food that can help with weight loss is hemp seeds. These nuts contain a lot of nutrients in a small serving. They contain a good source of fiber, healthy fatand proteinall the things needed for weight management,” shares Jeanette Kimszal, RDN, NLC Root Nutrition & Education. “Salads topped with hemp seeds not only make your salad tasty, but also satisfy your hunger. This means that you stay full longer thanks to the high protein content‘ she continues, noting that two to three tablespoons provide about 11 grams of protein and that they a complete proteinmeaning they contain all nine essential amino acids.
Another super seed to sprinkle on your salad, dear readers. “Whole flaxseeds are a great food to add to your salad for weight loss. Several studies have linked flaxseed consumption to a decrease in weight and waist circumference,” shares Sarah Williams, MS, RD, a Registered Dietitian and Weight Loss Expert who owns and operates a virtual private practice called sweet balancemention, that review article analyzed the results of 45 randomized controlled trials on flaxseed and weight loss.
Take the legumes. Stefanow comments that these are great plant-based protein and particularly enjoys them when marinated in herbs and spices to add a touch of flavor and texture to a salad (to make: add some EVOO and a squeeze of vinegar along with any fresh herbs you have on hand and your favorite spices). “A Study 2017 suggests that chickpeas and other legumes may help prevent visceral fat from accumulating around the abdomen,” says Stefanow. “Visceral fat is the fat that accumulates around your organs, and it’s of particular concern because it increases inflammation in the body and has been linked to chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes and stroke. Adding legumes like chickpeas to your diet can help keep this type of fat from building up.”
Yes, we’re all about our namesake root vegetable. “They have been linked to many benefits for the body, such as: B. Reduced inflammation, which can help the body lose weight,” says Jana Mowrer, MPH, RDN, CDCES, Founder and Owner of HealthWins coaching and consulting, which specializes in helping women break the cycle of chronic dieting. “Beets also contain fiber, and a diet of at least 25 grams per day has been linked to weight loss,” she adds, supporting her claim this study.
“This fruit is a power food and not enough is talked about! It’s higher in potassium than a banana,” says Mowrer, explaining that potassium helps the body eliminate sodium, which can help with hydration and weight loss. Bonus: Kiwis are amazing for your immune system, too.
Yes, the number one food you should be eating but probably doesn’t belong in your next salad. Clara Lawson, RDN, from US hemp, calls lentils the best plant-based protein to add to a variety of salads to promote weight loss. “Lentils have almost no fat and are packed with fiber and protein, which keep you full for longer and help avoid unhealthy snacking. Also, lentils have slow-digesting carbohydrates that keep you fuller longer than other foods,” says Lawson. “In addition, lentils fall into the category of legumes, which, due to their high fiber and protein content, makes weight loss more effective, as this confirms Study 2016. The study showed that participants who included legumes like lentils in their diet lost significantly more weight than those who didn’t. “
Every salad deserves a crunch. Get that crunch factor from nutrient-dense nuts, and your waistline will thank you. “Nuts are a high-fiber salad topper that’s a good source of heart-healthy fats, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Adding a sprinkling of nuts to salads can help keep you feeling full and satisfied long after you’ve eaten, says Holly Klamer, MS, RDN, author at MyCrohnsAndColitisTeam. “Pistachios, in particular, can help with weight loss when added to a salad. A Study 2010 found that pistachios as part of a weight loss diet did not cause weight gain. Additionally, researchers found that pistachios can help lower triglycerides when used instead of refined carbohydrate foods,” she continues, stressing that using pistachios instead of croutons, for example, can benefit your health.
9. Olive oil
“This healthy fat is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which provide the body with anti-inflammatory properties,” says Mowrer. “This healthy fat also helps with the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins like vitamins A, D, E, and K.” FYI: Natives Extra olive oil is best used in salads and is not used as a cooking oil. Hoping to cook something in oil? Read our article on the healthiest oils for cooking here.
These are a healthy, low-calorie addition to salads and a welcome ingredient, especially in the summer months, says Stefanow. “They give off a sweet brightness that only fruit can do without a ton of sugar. Blueberries can even keep belly fat at bay,” she comments. “A new animal to learn found that when bilberry peel extract was administered to subjects on a high-fat diet, subjects exhibited “decreased body weight gain and inhibited fat accumulation.” While more research is needed, this is a promising added benefit to all foods that have already proven to be nutritional powerhouses.”
11. Whole Grains
“Another element you can add to your salad to help with weight loss is whole grains, like whole wheat farro or quinoa. research shows that a whole grain diet is associated with weight loss and lower inflammatory markers in the body,” says Williams. For more information on the nutritious food group, see our complete guide to whole grains on a plant-based diet.
Sesame seed paste is where it’s at, y’all. “Not only is it delicious, it’s also nutritious and filling because it’s a plant-based protein, fat and fiber all in one. Tahini contains iron, zinc and selenium proven to reduce body fatsays Slayton, whose favorite brand of tahini is The Tahini Goddess for its purity and variety of flavors such as Pesto, Caesar, Za’atar and Spicy Chili.
For more great content on how to live your healthiest life, check out the Health & Nutrition Stories at The carrot.