How to Make a Healthy Salad
Salads can be GREAT for weight loss, if you know how to make a tasty and healthy salad. Lots of people HATE eating salads because they lack flavor. Or…they add too much dressing and then the salad is no longer healthy!
If you want to eat more salads to be healthier (or to lose weight), then follow these tips on how to make a healthy salad at home.
Topics in this post by The Jeans Fit
- How to make a healthy salad at home
- Healthy salad ideas and healthy salad toppings
- Healthy salad dressings to buy
- Salad toppings to avoid if you want a healthy salad
How to Make a Healthy Salad at Home
Here are 5 easy tips on how to make a healthy salad at home.
1. Use the Right Leafy Greens
I used to use nothing but cabbage or iceberg lettuce in all my salads. Please don’t do that!
Cabbage is surprisingly high in sugar and iceberg lettuce offers no nutritional value at all.
Go with mixed greens, spinach, or romaine lettuce for the healthiest salads.
I personally buy a BIG 16 oz. container of the spring mix from Aldi or Whole Foods.
Whole Foods can be expensive, but the mixed greens at Whole Foods are actually cheaper than what you’ll find at Publix or Kroger.
Plus, one HUGE container of the spring mix only has 100 calories, 10 grams of protein (yes – you read that correctly), 10 grams of fiber, and 30% of your daily iron.
2. Add a Protein You Love
A healthy salad won’t keep you full unless you add protein.
There are lots of proteins to choose from.
I personally love the boneless, skinless sardines from King Oscar the most.
No cooking is required with sardines, and you’ll get healthy omega-3 fatty acids and protein.
Trader Joe’s also sells great chicken burgers and turkey burgers for salads. Or, buy the Trader Joe’s 96% lean/4% fat ground beef.
Want more ideas for a protein to add to your salad? Check out this list!
Proteins for a Healthy Salad at Home
- Skinless, boneless sardines (I love the King Oscar sardines the most)
- Chicken burgers
- Lean turkey burgers
- Canned tuna in water (limit to <2 cans/week)
- Lean ground beef (look for 96% lean in the store)
- Hard-boiled eggs (go with pasture raised chicken eggs)
- Salmon (look for wild-caught salmon for the healthiest fish)
3. Add Fun Toppings for Flavor
Salads can be really boring if you don’t add fun toppings for flavor.
But, you need to be careful with what toppings you use if you want to keep your salad healthy.
Below are ideas for fun and healthy toppings to add to your salad.
Healthy Salad Toppings
- Kalamata olives
- Low calorie cheeses like Feta cheese or blue cheese (just don’t use too much!)
- A handful of nuts (try walnuts on a salad)
- Garbanzo beans
- Green or red bell peppers
- Craisins (just use a little bit, as craisins are high in sugar)
- ½ an avocado
- Pickle slices (if you like salty foods like me!)
4. Use a Creative and Healthy Dressing
You could make the healthiest of salads and then ruin it by using a high-fat, high calorie salad dressing.
To avoid this, either use a healthy salad dressing (see below) or use a creative salad dressing.
Creative Salad Dressing Ideas
Below are some creative ways to add a punch of flavor to your salad.
Creative Salad Dressings for Your Salad
- Mustard mixed with balsamic vinegar (not vinaigrette)
- Spinach and kale Greek yogurt dip (buy from Trader Joe’s)
- Soup (yes – you can add soup for seasoning!)
- Rice vinegar (use the seasoned rice vinegar the normal vinegar)
- BBQ sauce (just use a little bit, as there are still 50 calories/2 tablespoons)
- Worcester sauce
Tip: Avoid the salad dressings that say “zero calories.” These supposed “healthy salad dressings” have fake sugars in them that are not good for you.
5. Pick the Right Salad Bowl
Lastly, you’ll need a BIG Salad bowl for your delicious and healthy salad. Having a salad on a plate is no fun, and a small little 12oz bowl is useless.
Get a big, gigantic bowl that will make you happy to eat more healthy salads. Below are two bowls that I absolutely love!
Cute Extra Large Salad Bowls for Healthy Salads
The 6 Best Healthy Salad Dressings for a Healthy Salad at Home
Not sure what’s the best healthy salad dressing to buy?
Below are a few options that you can order on Amazon or from Whole Foods that are low in saturated fat, low in calories, and healthy for you.
Healthy Salad Dressings to Buy
- Cilantro Avocado Yogurt Dressing by Bolthouse Farms
- Light Organic Balsamic Vinaigrette by 365 at Whole Foods
- Light Organic Ranch dressing by 365 at Whole Foods
- Greek Yogurt, Avocado, and Cilantro Organic Dressing by 365 at Whole Foods
- Balsamic Fig Organic dressing by 365 at Whole Foods
- Greener Goddess Plant-Based Keto Dressing by Healthy Choice Power
Buy these Healthy Salad Dressings on Amazon Fresh or from Whole Foods
Salad Toppings to Avoid if You Want a Healthy Salad
If you want to make healthy salads at home, it’s key to know what NOT to put on a salad.
Below are a list of salad toppings to avoid if you want to lose weight, make healthier salads at home, or ask to be removed when ordering salads at restaurants
Salad Toppings to Avoid
Avoid these salad toppings at restaurants and when making healthy salads at home.
- Craisins (a few are okay; a lot will add 150 calories easily)
- Cheese (unless it’s just a limit bit of cheese, or a low-calorie cheese)
- Bacon bits
- Rice noodles
- Tortilla strips
- Grilled corn (it’s okay – but grilled corn is relatively high in sugar)
- Grilled vegetables (restaurants often add a LOT of oil to grilled peppers and onions)
Last Tip for Eating Healthy Salads: As a final tip, always ask for salad dressing on the side when ordering a salad at a restaurant. Too much salad dressing can turn a healthy 400 calorie salad into an 800 calorie salad.
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