How to Make Salads That are Filling

Whether you're trying to lose weight or simply eat healthier, you might give up fast foods and start packing a salad for lunch.

The health benefits of a tasty salad cannot be overstated. The vegetables in salads are full of antioxidants and packed with fiber; and if you're trying to drop pounds, these low-calorie meals can jump start your weight loss efforts. In addition, salads are simple to prepare, making them a top choice for lunch. And since they're lighter than other lunch selections, you might avoid a mid-afternoon slump.

But while a fresh salad may provide immediate satisfaction, you might feel hungry after two hours. It's at this point that you hit the vending machines in the break room for a candy bar, chips or other junk food. But rather than destroy your healthy eating habits, learn how to prepare more satisfying salads. 

Lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes and croutons are the foundation for any salad. However, for a filling lunch, you need to add more healthy ingredients. For example:

#1. Pasta

Pasta 5 by Guy Renard 25, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License  by  Guy Renard 25 

Add a cup of cooked pasta to your boring salad for a heavier meal. Top the salad with Italian or caesar dressing and you've got a pasta salad that will keep you satisfied until dinner. 

#2. Meat (chicken, steak, tuna)

Chinese Food Shrimp Broccoli 12-6-08 6 by stevendepolo, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License  by  stevendepolo 

Eating only veggies for lunch is healthy, but if you have a busy afternoon ahead of you, you need heavier ingredients to stay full and energized. To boost flavor, add chunks of grilled steak or chicken to any ordinary salad. If you prefer lean meats, cut up a few slices of turkey meat or add a can of tuna or smoked salmon. 

#3. Rice and beans

Rainbow Rice and Beans by rusvaplauke, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License  by  rusvaplauke 

Another option - create your own salad bowl for lunch. Simply boil a half cup of rice, and then combine the cooked rice with a half cup of beans (black beans, pinto bean, chickpeas) in a bowl. Next, top the rice and beans with salsa-style corn, sour cream, lettuce, and any other delicious addition (guacamole, salsa, olives and jalapenos.) You'll have a Mexican-style salad bowl that's not only tasty, but extremely satisfying. 

#4. Boiled Egg

Cha. Lunch at Issacs! by Jakes_World, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic License  by  Jakes_World 

A hard-boiled egg is full of protein and extremely filling. If you plan on bringing salads for lunch this week, boil about two or three eggs and keep them in the refrigerator. Each day, chop up a boiled egg and toss it in your salad for a heavier meal. 

#5. Nuts

STOP & SHOP Deluxe Mixed Nuts by s58y, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License  by  s58y 

In addition to croutons or bacon pieces, add nuts to your salad. These healthy fats give boring salads a unique flavor. And since nuts are filling, you can get through the remainder of your day minus any hunger pains or cravings. Good options include walnuts, sliced almonds, pumpkin seeds, cashews, pecans or peanuts. 

Bottom Line

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A salad is a healthy alternative if you need to drop pounds, or if you're looking to watch your calorie intake during the work day. But unless you pack your salad with heavier ingredients, such as meats, rice, beans or nuts, you're not likely to enjoy long-term satisfaction. 






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