What is a Salad Diet?
Salads are widely recommended as a healthy and fresh alternative to many other foods like fried ones. Of course, salads can differ substantially in their nutritional value depending on the ingredient list. But overall, this word has a reputation for the healthiest meal you can get. That is why some have proposed a 30 day salad diet – a dietary plan focusing on the consumption of various salads.
Can it be a healthy alternative to other types of dietary regimes, or is it completely useless? And should you look for other plans to lose your extra pounds effectively? Read this article to find out everything about healthy salad making and its place in your daily menu.
What does a healthy diet look like?
Before understanding whether a 30 day salad diet plan is what you need, let’s take a glimpse at the basics of a healthy diet.
A healthy diet is, essentially, a diet that satisfies all the basic demands of your body. That is, a healthy diet delivers all necessary nutrients for your body to function flawlessly. People often look for possibilities to alter their diet when they’re trying to lose weight, or when they already struggle with some health issues. But a balanced diet is what you need regardless of your aims; it is a vital necessity for your body. Many studies established the connection of a healthy diet with the reduction of obesity, as well as lowered risks of chronic diseases tied to obesity, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and cancer (6, 4). According to the USDA, half of the food you eat should be fruit and vegetables.
Other food groups indispensable for a proper diet are low-fat dairy, lean proteins (mostly from plant sources or seafood), legumes, whole grains, and nuts.
Another thing you need to know is adult women require between 1600 and 2000 calories per day in order to maintain the proper functioning of their body, good immunity, and avoid health issues (7). A healthy weight loss dynamic is 1-2 pounds per week, which you can achieve by maintaining a calorie deficit of 500 calories per day through diet and regular exercise.
What is a 30 day salad diet?
A 30 day salad diet is a diet that emphasizes the consumption of salads. It does not eliminate other dishes, but you’ll need to take a bigger part of calories from salad than you’ve taken before. The trick is that it is difficult to say outright whether a salad diet is healthy or not for a simple reason: you can make a salad using literally anything from kale to fried chicken. So, theoretically, a 30 day salad diet can indeed be healthy and yield weight loss, but you need to be careful when choosing the ingredients and dressings.
The widespread belief holds that all salads are low-calorie, but that is a dangerous belief, one able to destroy all your attempts to shed your pounds. In fact, many salads with heavy dressings and other high-calorie ingredients are not weight loss friendly at all. For instance, a famous grilled chicken Caesar salad contains as much as 770 calories (9)! So, you can increase the number of salads in your diet, but you need to know the ingredients to choose and avoid, as well as to count your calories to maintain a calorie deficit. Is salad good for you? It depends on how you make it.
What to eat on a salad diet?
What are the best salad ingredients? There are quite a lot of them. If you want to increase the consumption of salads, you need to take care of proper protein, fat, and carbs intake. Here are the best ingredients to make your delicious and nutritious salads.
If you wish to make your salad low-calorie, the best choice for your base is leafy greens.
Double down on kale, collard greens, spinach, arugula, and watercress whenever you decide to make a salad.
Leafy greens are extremely good for our bodies and brains. Studies show that a diet that contains plenty of leafy greens is linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, certain cancers, macular degeneration, and type 2 diabetes. They may also help to keep your memory sharp as you get older (2).
Not only are they an amazing source of nutrition for our bodies, but leafy greens are a great way to add color, texture, and flavor to your salad. Iceberg, bibb, romaine, escarole, and frisee would make a perfect base for your healthy salad.
To get lots of healthy nutrients, pack your salad with vegetables from each color category (8).
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- Red vegetables include tomato, radishes, red onion, red peppers, cubed beets, and red potato.
- Orange vegetables include carrots, orange peppers, squash, orange tomato, and sweet potato.
- Yellow and white vegetables include sweet onion, cooked fresh corn kernels, yellow tomato, yellow beets, jicama, mushrooms, finely shallots, cauliflower, and white asparagus.
- Blue or purple vegetables include purple potatoes, purple cabbage, purple peppers, and eggplant.
- Green vegetables include green onion, green tomato, artichoke hearts, peas, broccoli, cucumber, Brussels sprouts, and celery.
The benefits of vegetables are almost uncountable. First of all, most vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories, and none contain cholesterol. Vegetables are crucial sources of many nutrients, including potassium, dietary fiber, folate (folic acid), vitamin A, and vitamin C. Eating lots of vegetables and fruits as part of your nutritious dietary plan may reduce the risk of heart disease, including heart attack and stroke, as well as cancers (5).
So, leafy greens and vegetables should form the base of your salad. But if you’re following a diet based on salads, it is essential to include healthy sources of fats and protein into your diet.
The most popular and healthy sources of fat added to salads are the following:
- Avocados (1-2 tablespoons per serving)
Avocados are an extremely healthy fruit, often referred to as a superfood. A single serving of avocados contain 160 calories, 2 grams of protein, 15 grams of healthy fats, as well as the following nutrients (1):
- Vitamin K: 26% of the daily value (DV)
- Folate: 20% of the DV
- Vitamin C: 17% of the DV
- Potassium: 14% of the DV
- Vitamin B5: 14% of the DV
- Vitamin B6: 13% of the DV
- Vitamin E: 10% of the DV
Potassium is a crucial element for the functioning of your body, and avocados have lots of it. Furthermore, it is loaded with fiber, monounsaturated fatty acids, and other necessary nutrients.
- Olive oil (1-2 tablespoons per serving)
Extra virgin olive oil contains over 30 different types of phenolic compounds, which are extremely strong antioxidants. The monounsaturated fats of olive oil also significantly contribute to the benefits of this product.
A diet high in monounsaturated fat is connected to positive effects on the risks of cardiovascular disease, heart disease, and stroke. Besides, monounsaturated fats from olive oil may help reduce chronic inflammation, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and blood glucose levels (3).
- Nuts (10-15 nuts per serving)
Nuts provide your body with essential nutrients, proteins, healthy fats, and antioxidants. Full of calcium, magnesium, and monounsaturated fats, nuts are one of the best fat sources you can add to your salad.
- Seeds (sunflower, chia, pumpkin)
Seeds are great sources of fiber. Also, they contain healthy monounsaturated fats, protein, polyunsaturated fats, and many important vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
If you want your salad to satisfy your hunger craves for long, you can’t avoid adding a source of protein to your bowl. Protein is absolutely essential for your body, playing a major role in fortifying your bones, improving your intellectual performance, repairing damaged tissues, and relieving muscle soreness. Plus, proteins are indispensable if you’re physically active and want to grow muscle. The best sources of protein include seafood with its multiple health benefits, whole grains like quinoa, wild rice, brown rice, and barley, seeds, nuts, legumes, and lean poultry or meat. Keep in mind that consuming an excessive amount of red meat can yield adverse effects on your body.
The best way to add flavor to your salad is by chopping some herbs into it. Most salad dressings are made of herbs and oil, but oftentimes other ingredients make most dressings extremely high-calorie. The best decision is skipping the dressing and adding herbs on their own instead. Look for basil, chervil, chives, cilantro, dill, parsley, tarragon, thyme, and others in your local store.
So, these are the main components of your healthy salads. A 30 day salad diet results will be profound only if you make your salads out of healthy ingredients. In contrast, here are some ingredients you should definitely avoid.
What to avoid on a 30 day salad diet?
The bacon on top of your salad might add a shocking 400 calories and 30 grams of fat (9). Most kinds of bacon are not healthy, contain lots of saturated fat, extra salt, and sugar. So skip the bacon and use healthy sources of protein listed above instead.
Croutons aren’t a disaster, but these are mostly useless grains adding nothing but calories to your salad. If you’re counting calories on a 30 day salad diet, skip them.
Chicken, shrimp, and fish are all healthy salad ingredients. But when you deep-fry them, they get filled with extra fat and calories you certainly don’t need. Choose other, more healthy cooking methods for your proteins.
A tiny slice of salami adds 43 calories to your salad, and there might be 4-5 slices of them. So get rid of deli meat and stick to chicken or turkey.
To sum up, a 30 day salad diet is a great choice provided that you love salads and you carefully choose all the ingredients. A healthy salad consists of leafy greens, vegetables, some healthy sources of fat and protein, herbs, and oil. However, a 30 day salad diet is neither a magical resolution of all your problems nor a particularly effective dietary plan. Including more salads instead of less nutritious foods in your diet is reasonable, consuming exclusively salads for weight loss purposes is not. So, keep a balanced attitude, don’t forget to exercise regularly, and keep your fluid intake high to build up the slim and beautiful body you’re striving to have.
Supplement your diet with some exercise to double your results. Check out this 20-min Full Body Workout at Home.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any medical conditions. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Avocados, raw, all commercial varieties (n.d., nutritiondata.self.com)
- Dark Green Leafy Vegetables (2013, ars.usda.gov)
- Effects of Olive Oil on Markers of Inflammation and Endothelial Function—A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis (2015, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Healthy lifestyle factors in the primary prevention of coronary heart disease among men: benefits among users and nonusers of lipid-lowering and antihypertensive medications (2006, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Nutrients and Health Benefits (n.d., choosemyplate.gov)
- Preventing cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes: a common agenda for the American Cancer Society, the American Diabetes Association, and the American Heart Association (2004, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- The 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans ( 2015, choosemyplate.gov)
- The Best Salad Ingredients for Weight Loss (2020, verywellfit.com)
- The Worst Salad Ingredients for Weight Loss (2020, verywellfit.com)