Starting a weight loss journey can be an exciting yet challenging task. Figuring out the best things to eat can feel overwhelming, and while people often turn to salads when trying to lose weight, they can be packed with extra fat and calories if you’re not careful. Clean eating is so important to get to a healthy weight, so it’s important you fill your salads with healthy, protein-filled foods. Check out this collection of 30 salads under 300 calories to keep you on track to your weight loss goals!
5 Worst Salad Ingredients for Weight Loss
Bacon strips may seem like the perfect topping for your salad, but they can add a significant amount of calories and fat. The amount will depend on how much bacon you add, but overall there’s not really any nutritional benefit to adding bacon, and it will do more harm than good for your waistline.
Croutons aren’t the worst thing you can eat for your diet, but when you add them to your salad, you’re adding calories with no nutritional benefit. Croutons are processed grains and many times they’re fried so you’re adding unhealthy fat to an otherwise healthy meal.
3. Creamy Salad Dressings
Many of the calories in a salad can end up coming from the dressing if you’re not careful. Creamy dressings such as ranch, blue cheese and thousand island are full of calories and fat. To keep your salads as healthy as possible, make your own vinaigrette at home, or skip the dressing altogether.
4. Fried Proteins
Adding foods like chicken, fish or shrimp to your salad is a great way to get your protein in, but deep fry any of those things, and they’re no longer healthy. Foods that are “crispy”, battered”, “crunchy” or “crusty” are almost always fried, so go for a grilled version instead for a much healthier, lower calorie option.
5. Processed Deli Meats
If you’re thinking of ways to add protein to your salad, stay away from processed deli meats. Processed meats add a significant amount of calories as well as a high dose of salt. If you’re trying to cut down your sodium intake, it’s especially important to stay away from these meats.
4 Food Swaps to Cut Calories in Your Salads
1. Mayo for Mustard
When you’re making salad dressing, stick to using mustard instead of mayo. While many dressings use mayo, you’ll be adding tons of unnecessary calories to your salad. Mustard is very low in calories and it’s also carb- and fat-free, so it’s a much better bet!
2. Fresh Fruit for Dried Fruit
Dried fruits like cranberries and apricots are full of sugar and extra calories. Instead, add fresh fruits to your salads for natural sweetness and texture. This also goes for fresh vegetables over vegetables in bags or cans. Fresh is always better!
3. Greek Yogurt for Sour Cream
Some creamy salad dressings use sour cream as an ingredient, and while the tangy, creamy dairy product is delicious, you’ll cut calories by subbing for Greek yogurt. Not only will you save calories, you’ll also get a dose of probiotics for gut health!
4. Homemade Dressing for Store Bought
Homemade dressing will always be healthier than store-bought. There are lots of additives and preservatives that go into store-bought dressings, so making it yourself will undoubtedly save you calories and fat.
7 Ways to Add Protein to Your Salads
1. Grilled Chicken
Grilled chicken is one of the best foods you can add to your salad if you want to boost the protein. While a salad filled with greens, avocados and veggies is nice and healthy, adding a dose of protein will round it out!
Eggs are another way to pack in a protein punch. They’ll help you feel and stay full so you aren’t going hungry throughout the day. Whether you choose hard boiled, soft boiled or poached, eggs add a wonderful protein addition.
Beans, especially white beans are a great source of protein. They’ll keep you satisfied for longer, and add a nice flavour and texture to your salad. Whether it’s a bean-based salad, or you mix them into your favourite green salad recipe, beans are an awesome protein source.
If you’re vegan or vegetarian or just aren’t into having meat or eggs on your salad, chickpeas are a great source of plant-based protein. They’re an easy addition to any salad, just add them on top!
Nuts are chock full of protein and they’re an excellent way to add some natural sweetness to your salad as well. From walnuts to pecans to almonds, choose your favourite nuts for a good dose of protein!
6. Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds contain more protein than any other nut or seed out there. They’re also a super affordable option, when nuts like almonds and macadamia nuts can come at a heftier price tag!
Salmon is rich in high quality protein and is a delicious addition to many salads! Since protein helps maintain muscle mass during weight loss, it’s especially key for your weight loss journey. With tons of other health benefits, salmon is a smart addition!
30 Salads Under 300 Calories
1. Cod with Cucumber, Avocado and Mango Salsa Salad | BBC Good Food
2. Brined Shrimp with Charred Corn Salad | Cooking Light
3. Chicken Salad with Bok Choy, Almonds and Apricots | My Recipes
4. Turkey Avocado Cobb Salad | Prevention
5. Balsamic Salmon Spinach Salad | Taste of Home
6. Minty Beetroot, Feta and Bulgur Salad | BBC Good Food
7. Sun Gold Tomato Caprese Salad | Cooking Light
8. Watermelon and Arugula Chicken Salad | My Recipes
9. Slow Cooker Chicken Taco Salad | Taste of Home
10. Healthy Avocado Prawn Salad | Weight Loss Resources
11. Curried Cauliflower Salad with Yogurt | Cooking Light
12. Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Hazelnuts, Broiled Lemon and Pecorino | Prevention
13. Stir-Fried Chicken Salad | My Recipes
14. Berry Chicken Salad | Taste of Home
15. Zesty Whole Grain and Vegetable Salad | All Recipes
16. Beet and Pumpkin Salad with Carrot-Ginger Dressing | Prevention
17. Edamame and Chicken Greek Salad | Eating Well
18. Mediterranean Barley Salad | All Recipes
19. Feta Garbanzo bean Salad | Taste of Home
20. Southwestern Grilled Chicken Salad | Prevention
21. Coronation Chickpea and Apple Salad | Olive Magazine
22. Broad Bean and Brown Rice Salad | Good to Know
23. Chicken and Green Bean Caesar Salad | Delicious Magazine
24. Blueberry Corn Salad with Prosciutto | Recipe Girl
25. Southwestern Cobb Salad | Our Best Bites
26. Courgetti Som Tam Salad | Olive Magazine
27. Chilli Chicken with Cucumber Salad | Delicious Magazine
28. Japanese Salad with Soy Ginger Dressing | BBC Good Food
29. Soy Glazed Chicken Salad | Delicious Magazine
30. Watermelon, Prawn and Avocado Salad | BBC Good Food
Clean eating is so important! Try out these healthy salad recipes and tips to lead a healthy, fulfilling lifestyle!