There are so many good reasons to eat a garden salad. Piling a plate high with fresh romaine lettuce, carrots, shredded red cabbage, and fresh cucumbers is a quick way to get a hefty dose of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants without adding too many calories. There’s only one problem. When you finish eating all of those raw vegetables, you’ll probably still be hungry. The solution? Make your next garden salad more satisfying and filling. Here’s how.
Add a Little Olive Oil
Olive oil may be high in calories, but it contains a fatty acid known as oleic acid. Oleic acid is converted by the body to a hormone called oleoylethanolamide or OEA that helps to keep hunger at bay even after the salad plate is empty. To harness the power of oleic acid, choose an olive oil based vinaigrette dressing that doesn’t have added sugar. Olive oil is also a good source of heart healthy monounsaturated fats ‘” an added bonus. The next time you make a salad, skip the creamy ranch dressing and use one made with olive oil instead.
Add Some Protein
Diets that are high in protein help to increase satiety which is why high protein diets are so popular for weight loss. After you’ve added a colorful array of veggies, throw in some grilled chicken, turkey, tuna, or wild Alaskan salmon to add a low-fat source of protein. If you’re vegetarian, grilled tempeh is a good option. It’ll not only make your salad taste better, but it’ll be more filling as well.
Add Some Pine Nuts
Korean pine nuts contain pinolenic acid, a compound that stimulates secretion of two hormones that increase satiety ‘” CCK and GLP-1. These two hormones send the message to the brain that you’re full. If pine nuts aren’t available, sprinkle on a handful of almonds or walnuts instead. These heart-healthy nuts are rich in fiber and monounsaturated fats ‘” both of which increase satiety.
Most people don’t consider adding beans to a garden salad, but maybe they should. Beans are high in both fiber and resistant starches. These components slow down gastric emptying causing you to feel full longer after a meal. When it comes to beans that go well with a salad, try black beans and little salsa for a Mexican style salad or chickpeas for a Mediterranean one. Kidney beans are another popular choice.
The Bottom Line?
Don’t let a garden salad leave you feeling hungry. Add some of these tasty ingredients to your next salad and turn it into a satisfying meal.