Oftentimes, many people pour on the dressing to make their salads more tasty and filling, but doing this means you are simultaneously adding calories and fat – not nutrients.
The good news, however, is that this isn’t the only way to feel more satisfied by your leafy greens. In fact, choosing the right salad toppings and ingredients can actually boost satiety and the nutritional value of your meal. You just have to know what to pick. The followingg 6 ingredients are at the top of our list.
Nuts and Seeds
Because nuts and seeds are rich in protein, fiber, and healthy fats, these heart-healthy toppings keep you feeling full and add pizzazz to boring salads. Walnuts, pecans, cashews, pistachios, slivered almonds, sunflower seeds, shelled pumpkin seeds, and chia seeds make excellent salad toppers, and some of these — like walnuts and pumpkin seeds — are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. They add an excellent crunch that can also be enjoyed by vegans, vegetarians and meat eaters alike!
Like nuts and seeds, black beans are loaded with protein and fiber, making these nutrient-dense legumes satiating salad toppers. Don’t limit yourself to just black beans though. Try edamame (soy beans), pinto beans, or garbanzo beans on top of salads. If you are not a fan of beans, another great option would be to sprinkle quinoa – another filling carb that is packed with protein but easier on the digestive system.
Anchovies – small fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids – make satiating salad toppers because of their protein content. In addition, while they significantly boost the protein content of your salad, these tiny fish are not high in calories. Three ounces of raw anchovies contain over 17 grams of protein but just 111 calories. It sure does pack a whole lot of punch.
Grilled chicken breast is also a satiating salad topping because of its rich protein content. Plus, like anchovies grilled chicken isn’t a high-calorie salad addition — providing 26 grams of protein and 128 calories in each 3-ounce portion.
Add shrimp and avocados to leafy green salads to keep you feeling satisfied for hours. Shrimp is another protein booster — providing over 20 grams of protein and just 84 calories in 3 ounces — and a heart-healthy choice for salads. Try topping a shrimp salad with cilantro or lemon dressing as well for a light and tasty lunch option.
Mozzarella cheese is naturally lower in calories than other types of cheeses, but is an excellent source of satiating protein and bone-enhancing calcium. Look for fresh mozzarella in the deli or dairy section of your supermarket. If you prefer shredded mozzarella on your salad instead, go for it!
For more on Eating Well, check out our articles here.