Salads have been touted as the holy grail of diet-friendly lunches for some time now. Loaded with vegetables, there’s no question that a salad is a healthy choice for a mid-day meal. But have you ever finished a salad and felt unsatisfied, hungry, and craving more? After eating a salad, have you only ever felt unsatisfied, hungry, and craving more?
This does not need to happen.
We have all been allowing this mistake for far too long. People trying to make a healthy choice with a salad for lunch are making a chronic and crucial error — they are making salads that, for lack of a better word, suck.
They pack their Tupperware for work with greens, tomatoes, and a drizzle of dressing. Maybe they throw in some dried fruit or a couple of walnuts. At lunchtime, they proudly open the plastic container filled with raw vegetables and chemical-laden premade dressing and chow down — only to be hungry again five minutes later.
Maybe some of them deny the ensuing hunger, until it catches up with them later on as they walk past an open box of doughnuts. Maybe some immediately grab a bag of potato chips from the office vending machine. Maybe some of them feel shame, believing something is wrong with them: Why wasn’t I full after eating my healthy salad? But all of these people have one thing in common. They made a caustic mistake with their “healthier” salad lunch.
It may seem obvious, but many salads are missing the key components to a satisfying meal: protein, fats, and carbs. It’s that simple.
No restaurant serves a main course salad without adding tons of toppings to the mix, and with good reason. Nutritionists have been parading this advice for decades — and yet still, people are leaving these nutrients out of their salads, probably for fear of fattening calories. These fears are unfounded. In reality, these ingredients fuel you, satiate your stomach, and keep your metabolism chugging along. Leave them out and you’ll be hit hard with hunger, cravings, and a slowing metabolic rate.
So next time you’re packing a salad, pack the toppings into your Tupperware. Add meat, cheese, nuts, seeds, olives, or grains. Roast potatoes and throw them on top, spoon in a pile of beans, or drizzle your spinach with tahini.
Don’t be afraid of these healthy foods — just add a reasonable balance of each and enjoy the feeling of satisfaction when you’re done eating the next day. No doughnuts required.