Are you like maybe one of the million people around the world who order salads because they are “healthier”? So many people make the mistake of eating salad on a regular basis thinking that they are healthy and will help them stay slim and trim. But unfortunately, the truth is that eating salad can do the opposite and make you fat, and there are a number of reasons for this. Let us take a look at some of those reasons.
9 Reasons Why Salads Make You Gain Weight
Here is a look at 9 reasons that eating salad does the opposite of what you want and makes you gain weight:
1. Those Yummy Toppings are Fatty
When you eat salads, it is hard to resist those delicious, crunchy toppings, such as crispy sesame sticks, fried wontons or croutons. But did you know that they can negate your healthy intentions very quickly? All of those yummy toppings that add a little extra something to your salad are fried and this means that they contain a lot of extra fat. To get the salty crunch that you crave and still eliminate these toppings, go to salad bars that have healthier alternatives, such as dry soy nuts, to give you that crunchy texture you want in your salad. Better yet, you can bring your lunch rather than eat out and make your own healthier crunchy toppings by baking strips of raw wanton wrappers or chunks of multigrain bread in the oven until they are perfectly crisp.
2. Dried Fruit and Nuts Affect Your Waistline
Do you love the heavenly combo of dried cranberries and nuts? If you do, it is important to bear in mind that this combination does not do much good for your waistline. Many people love adding dried fruit to their salad, but what many do not know is that it is easy to add a number of extra servings of fruit, which means that you are adding a lot of sugar. The same goes for nuts, such as almonds and walnuts, which can contribute to pushing your intake of fats over the edge. To make sure that you do not add extra unwanted pounds to your weight, you should measure out one serving of dried fruit and also chop your nuts, coarsely so that you use less while still getting the flavor and crunchy texture you want with every bite.
3. You Often Opt for Pre-Made Salads
When you enter a salad bar or other places you go to for lunch, you will be offered a menu that has a wide range of pre-made salad options to pick from. Did you know that pre-made salads can cause you to gain weight? How? Well, although they might taste great and are convenient, they can hide a lot more salt, sugar and fat than you might realize. It is important to be aware of salads that contain fried or crispy foods, even chicken, on top. You should pay close attention to the ingredients in the salads you choose and ask yourself if you would them to your homemade salads. Be careful whenever you choose pre-made salads for lunch.
4. Protein Does Not Cross Your Mind
A source of protein completes any salad, and it is important for you to plan ahead if you are bringing a homemade one for lunch to work. A great idea is to grill up a couple of chicken breasts on Sunday nights and add a fresh batch of healthy, low-fat cut-up chicken breast every day to your salad. For a quick and healthy protein fix, make sure that your cupboard has tuna so that you have a protein-filled but low calorie option at all times. If you are looking for a vegetarian option for your protein needs, you can go for lentils or chickpeas which are rich in plant-based protein as well as loaded with dietary fiber, an important nutrient for weight loss and your overall health.
5. You Do Not Pick the Right Dressing
Dressings that are pre-made can quickly turn your healthy salad into a dish filled with calories because they often contain a lot of sugar, fat and salt. If you are eating out, ask for your dressing on the side so that you can add in a small amount at a time. Do you think that fat-free dressings are a good option? You are wrong. These dressings often have high sugar content to make up for the lack of fat. A great option is to drizzle a little olive oil and lemon juice or vinegar. You can also go for a dressing-free salad by choosing a healthy protein salad.
6. Your Salad Does Not Have Enough Raw Veggies
Raw vegetables are salad basics and it is extremely important for your salad to have enough of them to be healthy and help you lose or maintain your weight. Make sure that you always have enough raw veggies for your salads, such as cucumber, tomatoes, bell peppers, carrots and broccoli. These salad essentials are low in calories and they will fill you up, which means that you will eat less. Most people do not think about the amount of raw vegetables in their salads or realize how important they are in making sure that salads are low in calories and fat.
7. You Go Overboard with Cheese
Do you love cheese as a salad topping? While it is not bad, you can easily sabotage your healthy salad if you choose the wrong type. Cheese contains protein and a good source of calcium, but it can also be filled with hidden fat and calories, especially if you are eating out. If you want cheese as a topping for your salad, it is a good idea to opt for grated varieties, like Parmesan cheese, or look for low-fat feta or mozzarella. Although feta cheese can have high sodium content, it is lower in fat with loads of flavor. This means that you can reduce the amount of cheese topping in your salad. If you are eating out, make sure that you find out what variety of cheese is added to your salad and do not overdo it.
8. You Assume Every Salad Bar has Healthy Toppings
This is one reason many people gain weight even though they eat salads regularly. They make the mistake of assuming that the toppings offered in salad bars are all healthy. Nowadays, DIY salad bars offer roasted vegetables, such as sweet potatoes, cauliflower and Brussel sprouts – in fact, they are all the rage these days. However, it is a smart idea to think twice before you pile them on in your salad and always bear in mind that, depending on how they are cooked, those delicious roasted veggies can contain a lot of hidden fat and salt. As mentioned earlier, you are better off having more raw vegetables in your salad.
9. You Always Go for the Tortilla Bowl
Do you love salads that are served in those cute little tortilla bowls? Beware of them! They might look healthy and appealing, but the fact is that you are adding loads of calories to your “healthy” lunch and this will obviously add to your weight. If you love tortillas with your salad, go for a few strips on top instead of the bowl. Some salad bars offer organic black bean or rice tortilla chips that add crunch and flavor to any salad. You will also find this type of tortilla chips in stores. What is great about them is that they also contain added vegetable nutrients that you will not even know are there, but do you a world of good in helping you maintain your weight!
Eating Salads Daily to Help You Lose Weight
Many people fail to lose weight or gain weight despite eating salads regularly. As mentioned above, this is because they make mistakes when making or choosing their salad or the ingredients in them. When you do it right, your salad can be packed with ingredients that are not only healthy and delicious, but also help you burn calories and give your metabolism a boost to help you lose that unwanted weight faster and prevent you from gaining any.
Why should you eat Salads?
Whether you are at home or a salad bar, one of the most important things to keep in mind when constructing a salad is to ignore the iceberg lettuce and pick greens that are darker in color and more rich in nutrients. For your salad base, choose low-calorie options such as arugula, spinach, romaine lettuce and kale, or a combo of baby greens. For example, one cup of romaine lettuce or kale contains only 8 calories. When preparing a main-dish salad, use 2 to 3 cups of green vegetables – you can make a good side dish with 1 cup.
What is in a cup of Salad?
In one low-calorie serving, you will be getting high amounts of essential nutrients. Depending on whether you are a man or a woman, one cup of kale gives you 21 to 25% of your daily need for Vitamin C and 125% to 150% of your Vitamin K needs.
There is not much protein or fiber to speak of in leafy greens – there is less than a gram of each in a cup of kale. These two nutrients are required to satiate your appetite. This means that you will need other ingredients to boost your satiety. If you are making salad as a main-dish lunch or dinner, top your greens and get your protein with a serving of cottage cheese or grilled chicken breast or some chickpeas, as mentioned earlier. To give your salad a fiber boost, slice one-fourth of an avocado onto it or add chopped raw vegetables, like asparagus tips, broccoli florets, or sliced tomatoes and carrots.
Sides with Salads
If you are not making a salad meal, you can try a side dish before your meal so that you can reduce your portions of other foods. Research has shown that when people eat a large portion of low-calorie salad as a first course at lunch, it helps in reducing their caloric intake during the second course of pasta. However, their caloric intake is increased overall when they eat a large salad with extra dressing and cheese. When you are constructing your salad, choose lean protein and veggies rather than opting for toppings that are high in calories, such as cheddar cheese and croutons. Try spritzing a little bit of red wine vinegar or lemon juice on top for very few calories while giving it additional flavor.
You can also ditch high-calorie meals from your daily diet and replace them with salad. For example, if you have lunch with a 300-calorie salad with salmon or chicken for your main dish instead of a fish sandwich or a fast-food chicken, you can save 270 calories daily. Additionally, you increase your intake of a wider range of nutrients. One salad a day adds up to 1,900 calories in weekly savings. As a pound of body weight equals 3,500 calories, making this simple salad swap daily will help you in losing over half a pound each week.
Add in some exercise
Keep in mind that combining the substitution of healthier foods like salad with a regular exercise regimen can give you the best results in your weight loss goals. Experts recommend engaging in aerobics for 150 minutes a week with strength-training exercise twice a week.
Summing it UP
If you have been eating salad regularly yet still gaining weight, it means that you are making the wrong choices in toppings, dressings, etc. As mentioned earlier, carefully choosing the ingredients that go into your salad can make a major difference on whether or not you gain weight or if you lose or maintain your ideal weight. Keep in mind that if you have a condition like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or taking certain medications like prescription blood thinners, you should consult your doctor before increasing your intake of foods rich in Vitamin K, such as kale and other dark leafy greens. Once your doctor gives you the green light, you can eat salad daily to lose those unwanted extra pounds.
9 Reasons That Eating Salad Is Making You Fat