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Blog Nutrition Diets Salad Recipes For Diets: Which Ingredients Should You Have In Your Salad Bowl?

Salad Recipes For Diets: Which Ingredients Should You Have In Your Salad Bowl?

salad recipes for diets

Most people trying to lose weight scour the internet for salad recipes for diets. They pick whichever sounds fancy or seems tasty but in the process, they get frustrated and end up gaining weight. It’s because many of the salad ingredients they use are full of fat and calories. Even worse- the salads are never filling so they end up falling off the wagon by snacking too much and eating more calories than they burn. To make a healthy salad, you have to select weight-loss-friendly ingredients. Here is what to put in a salad to create nutrient-rich meals that are flavorful and low in calories.

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How To Make A Good Salad?

Salad is good for you, but only if you use the right ingredients. Here’s how to put together a weight loss salad

Choose The Best Leafy Greens

The base of your healthy salad should be leafy greens. There are several reasons for this, but one of the most important is fiber. Leafy greens are high in fiber, which slows digestion and keeps you feeling full for longer (7). If you are trying to lose weight, this is especially crucial.

Greens high in fiber include dark leafy greens like kale and spinach, as well as some lettuces which look pale but are actually nutritious.

salad recipes for low carb, meatless diets
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Choose Colorful Fruits And Vegetables

While any fruit or vegetable is great for weight loss, there are some that have been shown to be more beneficial than others. It is these colorful foods that contain the highest amounts of antioxidants, offering weight loss benefits at a much quicker pace (2).

Read More: Salad Diet Plans To Make Dieting And Weight Loss More Fun!

Red Fruits & Vegetables

Red fruits and vegetables are filled with antioxidants known as anthocyanins. These naturally occurring chemicals give these foods their bright red pigment, which has been shown to aid in weight loss by preventing insulin resistance and decreasing the body’s production of triglycerides (2). Some red-colored fruits and vegetables to include in your salads are:

  • Beets
  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries
  • Cranberries
  • Blackberries
  • Pomegranate juice 
  • Watermelon
  • Cherries
  • Red apples
  • Tomatoes
salad recipes for low carb diets
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Green Fruits & Vegetables

Green vegetables are the best sources of chlorophyll, which is essential for people trying to lose weight as it’s been shown to help alkalize a person’s system. This chemical also helps with digestion and acts as an anti-inflammatory agent (6).

Some examples of green vegetables that can be used in salads include:

  • Spinach 
  • Lettuce 
  • Kale 
  • Broccoli 
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cucumber
  • Green beans

Blue/Purple Fruits & Vegetables

Blue and purple fruits and vegetables contain a chemical compound known as anthocyanin. This plant pigment gives them their dark hue and has been shown to aid in weight loss by helping the body metabolize sugars at a much faster rate (2). Some examples of these types of fruits and vegetables include:

  • Eggplant
  • Blueberries
  • Purple grapes
  • Purple cabbage
  • Plums
  • Pomegranates
easy salad recipes for low carb diets
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Choose Healthy Fats

To keep your salad low in fat but high in flavor, choose healthy fats that will add flavor and satiety. Olive oil is the best choice because it’s heart-healthy and contains monounsaturated fat. Nuts, seeds, and avocado are also excellent choices (11).

Skip creamy dressings like ranch or blue cheese in favor of oil & vinegar-based dressings. If you want something thicker, mix equal parts yogurt with olive oil for an easy homemade ranch dressing.

Remember that adding fat to your diet-friendly salad will boost the calorie count. So, add them in moderation.

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Add Lean Protein

Protein is necessary for muscle growth and weight loss (4). Chicken and turkey make tasty protein options when you want to add lean protein to your salad without adding too many calories. You can also add beans or legumes like lentils if it fits into your meal plan. 

Flavor With Chopped Herbs

To make your salad extra flavorful without adding calories, chop oregano, basil, rosemary, or thyme and sprinkle them on top of the greens before you serve.

Easy Salad Recipes For Low Carb Diets

Here are a few salad recipes for low carb diets that you can use as inspiration:

salad recipes for low carb, meatless diets
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Tomato Salad With Lemon-Basil Vinaigrette (10)

This salad is not only tasty but helps satisfy your cravings for something filling. The lemon-basil dressing gives it a nice creamy texture while boosting the flavor.

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil, plus more for garnish
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground pepper
  • 4 large firm multicolor heirloom tomatoes, sliced
  • 2 medium English cucumbers, thinly sliced
  • ⅔ cup crumbled feta cheese

Instructions:

  • In a large mixing dish, combine the basil, lemon juice, oil, mustard, salt, and pepper to make a dressing. 
  • Arrange the tomatoes and cucumbers in a serving dish. 
  • Drizzle with dressing then add the feta. If desired, top with basil.
  • Nutrition Facts: 90 calories, 3g protein, 7g carbohydrates, 6g fat.

Recipe courtesy of eatingwell.com

Read More: Salad Diet Plan For 2 Weeks: Bust Out Of Your Diet Rut With With These Nutrient-Packed Salad Combinations

salad recipes for diets
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Low-Carb Taco Salad With Salsa Dressing And Guacamole

This classic Mexican salad has all the original flavors without the carb-filled tortillas. It’s a fast and simple dish that you can make for your weekly healthy eating meal prep.  

Taco Meat:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1¾ lbs ground beef or ground turkey
  • 2 tbsp taco seasoning (add more, plus salt, if needed)
  • ¾ cup water

Guacamole:

  • 2 (14 oz.) ripe avocados
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tbsp fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • ½ red chili pepper, without seeds and finely chopped (optional)
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste

Creamy Salsa Dressing:

  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup sugar-free salsa
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste

Salad:

  • 5 oz. (4 cups) lettuce, thinly sliced
  • 5 oz. cucumber, diced
  • 4 oz. (2⁄3 cup) tomatoes, diced
  • 2 oz. (52⁄3 tbsp) red onions, thinly sliced wedges

Serving:

  • ½ cup (2 oz.) Mexican cheese, shredded
  • 4 tbsp fresh cilantro
  • 1 lime, wedges (optional)

Instructions:

  • In a large skillet, heat the olive oil on medium-high heat. Add the ground meat and use a spatula to break it up. Stir it for 10 minutes, or until it is cooked.
  • Sprinkle the meat with taco seasoning. Stir it until coated. Add the water and bring to a boil on high heat. 
  • Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 3-5 minutes, until thickened. 
  • Mash peeled avocado slices, along with all the guacamole ingredients in a bowl. Set aside. 
  • Combine mayo, salsa, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Set aside. 
  • Place salad ingredients in a large serving bowl. Top with taco meat, cheese, guacamole, salad dressing, lime wedges, and cilantro. 

Nutrition Facts: 46g protein, 9g carbohydrates, 72g fat

small salad recipes for low-carb diets
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Spicy Calamari Salad (8)

This salad has rich flavors from spicy grilled calamari, crunchy peanuts, and tangy tomatoes. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb squid, cleaned, tentacles reserved for another use
  • 1⁄2 Tbsp peanut or canola oil
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1⁄2 Tbsp chili garlic sauce (preferably sambal oelek)
  • 4 cups watercress/baby arugula/basil leaves
  • 1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut into matchsticks
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 1⁄2 red onion, very thinly sliced
  • 1⁄4 cup roasted peanuts

Instructions:

  • Toss squid with oil and season with salt and paper.
  • Cook on a very hot grill for 5 minutes.
  • Whisk the lime juice, chili sauce, sugar, and fish sauce in a bowl. 
  • Slice the grilled squid
  • Toss all the ingredients together in a serving bowl. 

Nutrition Facts: 220 calories, 8g fat

This recipe is courtesy of eatthis.com

diet
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Grilled Chicken And Avocado Salad (9)

This grilled chicken recipe is filling and rich in protein – it’s guaranteed to keep you fuller for longer. 

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz cooked chicken
  • 12 cups arugula (1 prewashed bag)
  • 1⁄4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 avocado, pitted, peeled, and sliced
  • 1⁄4 cup crumbled goat cheese
  • 1⁄4 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1⁄4 cup honey mustard vinaigrette
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Instructions:

  • Combine all ingredients, use two forks to fully incorporate the dressing. Serve.  
  • Nutrition Facts: 500 calories, 24g fat

This recipe is courtesy of eatthis.com

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small salad recipes for low-carb diets
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Fruit And Nut Spinach Salad With Mustard Vinaigrette (1)

If you’re looking for a healthy salad that’s packed with fiber and bursting with flavor, this fruity combination is for you. 

Ingredients:

For The Salad:

  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1 cup arugula
  • 1 apple finely sliced
  • 3 tbsp dried cranberries
  • 2 tbsp walnuts
  • 1 tbsp goat cheese – blue cheese and feta will also work nicely

For The Mustard Vinaigrette:

  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp spicy brown mustard
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp good extra virgin olive oil

Instructions:

  • In a mason jar, combine all of the vinaigrette ingredients and shake or whisk until combined. Set aside. 
  • Chop the spinach and arugula into your desired size and place them on the plate. 
  • Top with apples, cranberries, walnuts, cheese, and vinaigrette. Serve.

This recipe is courtesy of loseweightbyeating.com

pear and arugula
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Arugula, Pear And Hazelnut Salad (3)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup, crumbled gorgonzola cheese 
  • 40 nuts Hazelnuts or Filberts
  • 10 ounces Arugula (Rocket)
  • 1 pear, medium (approx 2-1/2 per lb) pears

For The Maple-Dijon Vinaigrette:

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (sugar-free)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Instructions:

  • Toast hazelnuts on a sheet pan in an oven at 350°F (stir 2-3 times)
  • Remove as much of the outer skin as possible by letting it cool and then rubbing it off. Roughly chop and set aside.
  • Whisk together all the ingredients for the maple-dijon vinaigrette. Season with additional salt and freshly ground black pepper if desired.
  • Arrange your arugula and pear slices on a plate, sprinkle with hazelnuts and drizzle the vinaigrette. 

This recipe is courtesy of atkins.com

feta, tomato

Feta, Sun-Dried Tomato, Olive, And Basil Salad On Baby Greens (5)

Ingredients:

  • 4 ounces black olives
  • 1 small (3″ long) young green onions
  • 6 servings organic mixed baby greens salad
  • 1/2 cup olive oil 
  • 4 ounces feta cheese
  • 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 10 leaves basil
  • 4 tablespoons chopped sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 clove garlic

Instructions:

  • In a small mixing dish, combine the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and finely minced garlic to make the dressing. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste; set aside. 
  • In another small bowl combine the feta, tomatoes, diced olives, chopped basil, and chopped green onion.  
  • Serve greens, top with feta mixture then drizzle with the dressing.

This recipe is courtesy of atkins.com

Weight Loss According To The Age

The Bottom Line

Remember that for weight loss salads to be effective, they must be satiating enough to keep you full until your next meal. To fill up on nutritious salad ingredients without feeling full of fat and calories, remember these four tips.

First- choose the base ingredient of leafy greens high in fiber like kale or spinach. Second- choose color vegetables because each color represents a different set of nutrients. Third- use healthy fats like olive oil instead of fatty ones like ranch dressing. And fourth- add lean protein like chopped chicken breast, berries and nuts to the top of your salad.

With these simple tricks, you can make a weight loss-friendly salad that is flavorful and satisfying.

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DISCLAIMER:

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. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!

SOURCES:

  1. 15 Healthy Salad Recipes for Weight Loss (n.d., loseweightbyeating.com)
  2. A Review of the Science of Colorful, Plant-Based Food and Practical Strategies for “Eating the Rainbow” (2019, nih.gov)
  3. Arugula, Pear and Hazelnut Salad Recipe (n.d., atkins.com)
  4. Dietary Protein and Muscle Mass: Translating Science to Application and Health Benefit (2019, nih.gov)
  5. Feta, Sun-Dried Tomato, Olive and Basil Salad On Baby Greens Recipe (n.d., atkins.com)
  6. Health Benefits of Chlorophyll (2020, webmd.gov)
  7. Nutrients and bioactives in green leafy vegetables and cognitive decline (2018, nih.gov)
  8. Spicy Grilled Calamari Salad Recipe (2019, eatthis.com)
  9. The Ultimate Grilled Chicken and Avocado Salad Recipe (2019, eatthis.com)
  10. Tomato Salad with Lemon-Basil Vinaigrette (2018, eatingwell.com)
  11. Virgin Olive Oil and Health: Summary of the III International Conference on Virgin Olive Oil and Health Consensus Report, JAEN (Spain) 2018 (2019, nih.gov)
ZindzyGracia
ZindzyGracia

Zindzy is a freelance writer who specializes in creating web content in the health & wellness niche. The articles she writes focus on providing factual information – but never at the expense of providing an entertaining read.
Her interest in health & wellness was sparked by her motherhood journey. She realized just how much damage misinformation could cause, especially when it is targeted at new moms who are keen on postpartum weight loss.
So for years, she has worked hard to demystify the seemingly complex concepts of health & wellness. Eventually, she made one startling discovery that she wishes to share with all – there is no short cut. Consistency and hard work are the keys to a healthy mind and body.
But, writing is not all she does. Being a mother to an energetic toddler means her free time is spent exploring the outdoors, arms laden with cotton candy and toys. Through the daily intrigues of work and play, she continues to discover and share more ways to keep fit and stay healthy!

J. Paul
J. Paul

Jovial is from Dubai, and is a Head EMS Instructor/Fitness Manager/Nutrition Consultant for REMS Fitness. He is certified by the Gold’s Gym Fitness Institute and Registered as a Gym Instructor.
Jovial specialises in HIIT training, Rehabilitation/injury recovery, Strength and Conditioning, Kickboxing, Body Weight Training and Weight Training, and practices each discipline himself. His approach is to focus on improving his clients’ lifestyle by motivating them and setting an example.

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