Salads are a not-so-secret weapon in the battle of the bulge because these green-based dishes deliver nourishing fiber, antioxidants, and other nutrients—but they also fill us up, so we’re less likely to overindulge with a second (or third!) helping of the entrée. Unfortunately, some of the toppings we add to these nutritious greens can sabotage weight loss by packing too much fat, sugar, sodium, or calories. Croutons, anyone? Make your salads tasty and nutritious with these 11 Tasty Salad Toppings for Weight Loss:
1. Edamame– Edamame is a smart alternative to bacon toppings because these soy beans offer a dose of muscle-building, tummy-filling protein sans the unhealthy fat. Fresh edamame can go bad within a few days, so save money and always have some on hand for salads by choosing frozen.
2. Almonds– Use these sliced nuts to add a satisfying and healthy crunch to your greenery. Try them in this Garden Salad with Lemon & Oil Dressing.
3. Walnuts– These nuts have plenty of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, plus they’re meaty enough to add heft to any salad. Remember to keep an eye on portion size; stick to a serving the size of your thumb or smaller. Learn more about nuts and weight loss here.
4. Raisins– Dried grapes are a source of iron, which helps transport oxygen throughout the body. What’s more, many women don’t get enough iron. Top your salad with up to 1/8 cup of raisins. The golden variety is slightly sweeter than its better known cousin, making it an especially yummy salad topping.
5. Avocado– Packed with good-for-you fats and fiber, avocado will help you lose weight by making you feel full—and less likely to snack later. Sliced or cubed avocado is a delicious substitute for chicken or other meat. Learn why you should add more avocado to your diet here.
6. Chia seeds– Chi-chi-chi-chia seeds can make any salad su-su-su-super! They’re a good source of heart-loving omega-3s as well as antioxidants and amino acids. Chia seeds are a healthy alternative to croutons made from low-nutrition enriched flour. Learn 3 Reasons to Sing Out for Chi-chi-chi-chia.
7. Eggs– The egg is a protein-packed topping that primes the body for weight loss by helping it build stronger, calorie-burning muscle. Add them hard-boiled or poached. Read more about the health benefits of eggs here.
8. Sliced strawberries– These sweeten up any salad while providing fiber and antioxidants, plus manganese for bone health. Give strawberries a go by pairing them with a balsamic vinegar-based dressing.
9. Sliced apples– Thinly sliced apples are a tasty salad topping for weight loss. They combine body-friendly nutrition with low-calorie flavor. Apples come in plenty of varieties, so don’t be afraid to let your taste buds experiment with different tastes. For instance, you might find you prefer a Granny Smith instead of a Honeycrisp with your greens. Read more about why you should include apples in your diet here.
10. Sliced pears– We don’t often think of pears when we’re talking salad, but sliced pears make a sweet-tasting topping. Along with filling fiber, they contain boron, a mineral that helps the body retain calcium—and strong bones are a must for your workouts!
11. Fat-free cheese– The protein found in dairy can be a diet do! Top your salad with fat-free feta or another fat-free favorite. Remember, a little cheese can go a long way on taste. Stick to a teaspoon or less.
Prime your body to shed those extra pounds with these salad recipes: