How to Build a Meal-Sized Salad

Updated on August 17, 2018
rachel-leigh profile image

Rachel is a health blogger who coaches other women in diet and exercise. She has lived with chronic migraines for 16 years.

Source

Salads Can Be Satisfying

Salad has a bad reputation for being boring. It's often thought of as a side dish, and it rarely gets the appreciation it deserves as a main course.

We've all tried eating a salad for lunch, only to be ravenously hungry thirty minutes later. Our healthy eating efforts are then dashed as we reach for a bag of chips or other quick snack to quiet our rumbling tummy. It doesn't have to be that way!

This easy-to-follow template will help you build a satisfying and tasty salad each and every time. Personally, I promote the habit of eating one salad per day. With this approach, that practice is not only feasible, but very enjoyable.

Meal Sized Salad Template

1) Smart Carbs

2) Healthy Fats

3) Protein

4) Veggies

5) Greens

Smart Carbs

Low carb diets have been a trend for quite some time now. While limiting processed carbs (white bread, pastries, fruit-juice, etc.) is a good idea, smart carbs should definitely be part of your diet. Particularly if you're working out regularly, you need smart carbs to refuel and replenish what you're losing during workouts.

What are smart carbs? Starchy vegetables, like spinach, asparagus, and green beans are smart carbs. As are whole grains, like oats, quinoa, and brown rice. Oh, and don't forget beans!

My favorite smart carb? Definitely the sweet potato. I prefer them roasted with a little coconut oil, garlic, pepper, and rosemary.

Healthy Fats

Healthy fats are the key to making your salad satisfying. Foods like avocado, cheese, hummus, and dressings help your body absorb all of the fat-soluble vitamins in the salad.

Watch your portion size with the healthy fats, though. Just because they're "healthy" doesn't mean you can load on as much as you want. For an avocado, for instance, use one-quarter to one-half of the whole avocado.

Avocados are a popular salad choice, and serve as a filling, healthy fat ingredient.
Avocados are a popular salad choice, and serve as a filling, healthy fat ingredient.

Protein

Next, pick your favorite healthy protein option and load up! Your protein serving should be about the size of your palm.

For vegetarians, tempeh, hard-boiled eggs, or edamame are great options. Grilled chicken or shrimp work well for meat eaters.

Be careful not to overdo it on the seasoning for your protein. Remember, seasonings have calories, sodium, and carbs, too!

Veggies

This is the part where you can really get creative with different colors and flavors. Try to include 2-3 different veggies in your salad, preferably ones that are low calorie, high fiber, and have a high water content:

  • Cucumbers
  • Zucchini
  • Jicama
  • Tomatoes
  • Onions

More color = more nutrients!

Adding 2-3 colorful veggies to your salad will add a ton of nutrients!
Adding 2-3 colorful veggies to your salad will add a ton of nutrients!

Greens

Of course, we can't build a salad without the proper greens! Salads are perfect for those who tend to eat in volume. Your bowl is going to be loaded with tons of low calorie, nutrient dense greens.

The darker the greens, the more nutritious. Switch up your greens from time to time to ensure you're getting a variety of nutrients. Give these greens a try:

  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Swiss chard
  • Watercress
  • Romaine
  • Red or green leaf lettuce
  • Butter lettuce
  • Arugula

Have Fun With It

Everybody is different, and you'll likely have to experiment a few times to see which flavor combinations you like, and what will be the most satisfying.

Principles of a Great Salad

If you’re having salad as a meal it needs to be substantial in size, and have enough calories to constitute a meal. Around 500-600 calories is a good target.

You also need the salad to be satisfying, or filling. To do this, you'll want to incorporate a good mix of macronutrients — protein, healthy fat and smart carbs — as well as a variety of flavors and textures.

You'll learn what works best for you through experimentation. Try something crunchy with something semi-sweet. If that's not your style, mix it up the next time you build a salad. The perfect combination is a little different for everyone.

Remember, salads can easily turn into an unhealthy meal if you’re not careful with the toppings. Be mindful about what you add and the portion sizes. It can be helpful to measure some of the higher calorie toppings, like cheese and nuts, just so you don’t overdo it.

This principle is especially important when eating at restaurants. Restaurants tend to serve gargantuan portions, even when it comes to salad. Sometimes, they even add crazy toppings like French fries or melted cheese, which really defeat the purpose of eating a salad!

Questions & Answers

    © 2018 Rachel Leigh

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      No comments yet.

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, delishably.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://delishably.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
      ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)