A skinny salad sounds like a given. But…
Some salads can be waistline busters (especially from restaurants or fast food places) thanks to jumbo sizing and an overload of high-cal ingredients. But if you skip certain ingredients, like dressing or protein, your salad will be too skimpy, making you prone to hunger pangs soon after.
So what are the ideal ingredients to get that perfect healthy mix? Here’s what Digest Diet author Liz Vaccariello suggests, and what studies show can help with weight loss:
1. Use an oil-based salad dressing.
Here’s why: Many nutrients—specifically vitamins A, D, E, and K—are fat soluble, which means your body can’t absorb and use them without some fat present. So a fat-free dressing is actually counterintuitive! In fact, a recent Iowa State University study found that people who ate salads dressed with a canola or olive oil-based dressing had higher levels of carotenoids (vitamin A-like compounds) in their blood. Plus, ample research shows these unsaturated fatty acids can help melt belly fat and make your salad more filling. Even better? Toss the oil with vinegar, a proven fat releaser: Studies show it can help prevent blood sugar spikes after meals.
2. Mix up your greens.
Every type of green—romaine, radicchio, iceberg, spinach—boasts its own unique nutrients and healthy benefits. For optimal nutrition, mix ’em up (either within the same bowl, or from day to day). Also consider adding some herbs, like basil or parsley; they pack a strong punch of flavor and loads of disease-fighting antioxidants. And the more flavorful your salad naturally is, the fewer high-cal ingredients you’ll need to add for taste.