Hi! I’m Brittany, a certified health coach, salad lover and the founder of Eating Bird Food. Rather than promoting a specific diet, I share real-food, plant-focused meals that are healthy, delicious and satisfying.
One of my go-to tips for eating healthier (and losing weight if that’s a goal) is to eat more veggies and my simple solution for this is to have at least one BIG salad per day.
It’s a tip that I follow every day, and it’s been amazing at helping me pack in a variety of fruits and veggies, eat enough fiber and maintain a healthy weight. After seeing how a habits based approach to health (including the habit of one big salad a day) worked for me I’ve started encouraging others to do the same through my online salad challenges and programs.
If you’re looking to eat healthier and slim down you’ll love this simple “salad swap” approach. Gone are the days where eating a salad meant depriving yourself. Say goodbye to that small plate of iceberg lettuce topped with a couple tomatoes, cucumber slices and croutons.
Salads can be meal-sized, beautiful, flavorful, satisfying and easy to prepare.
You’re Going to Need a Bigger (Salad) Bowl
There are a few important components to think about when building a meal-sized salad that can actually replace a meal. The first is making sure the salad is filling — both in size and nutrition. You can’t eat a small bowl of raw veggies and expect to feel satisfied or full an hour later.
A meal-sized salad needs the following:
- Healthy Fats
- Veggies/Greens = Fiber
If you’re having salad as a meal, it also needs to be substantial in size (size definitely matters here!) and you also want to make sure the salad has enough calories to constitute a meal. Around 500 is a good place to start.
The second piece of the puzzle is making sure the salad is satisfying. To do this you want to make sure you have a variety of flavors and textures. I find that the toppings make all the difference. I love adding something crunchy along with something kind of sweet, without a ton of sugar. These two additions make salads really satisfying to me. Find out what toppings make salad satisfying to YOU and roll with it.
To make the salad making process really easy it can be helpful to buy pre-chopped veggies, as well as, cooked protein options (like canned beans) OR spend some time on Sunday preparing these things yourself so you’re ready to go when it comes time to toss the salad together.
Here are my current favorite meal sized salads:
- Crunchy Asian Chopped Salad with a Creamy Almond Dressing
- Sauteéd Breakfast Salad
- Black Bean Fiesta Mason Jar Salad
No time to meal prep or make your own salads?
No worries, almost every restaurant has a salad on the menu. Just be mindful that not all salads are healthy! This is especially true with restaurant salads that are loaded down with a ton of processed cheese, dried fruit and sugar-filled dressings. Often times these salads will have more calories and fat than a burger.
If you’re ordering a salad at a restaurant scope the menu and look for one with a good source of lean protein (nothing breaded or fried), lots of veggies and healthy fats like avocado, goat cheese or feta… skip the salads with loads of dried fruit, candied nuts, croutons and processed cheese. For the dressing, inquire about the options and ask for a vinaigrette on the side so you can add it yourself. If there’s no vinaigrettes that strike your fancy, ask for oil and vinegar or fresh lemon. Bonus tip: If the salad seems like it won’t be filling enough, ask for a side of steamed veggies for extra volume.
Join the Salad Movement!
Want to cook healthy but hate recipes that call for a laundry list of ingredients? You’ll love my Fit With Five ebook filled with 35 recipes that all use five ingredients or less. Seven of the recipes in the ebook are salads! Enter to win a free copy below.