Turn Setbacks into Setups
June 28, 2019
Ah, salads. They’ve somehow become the golden child of the diet industry, the go-to solution for all of our weight-loss and body transformation needs. They practically scream health food, and the recipe is so simple that you can literally throw one together in just a minute.
But when does a good thing become a bad thing? Well, eating only salad for certain meals has become a major trend in past years, but it’s not always the best move—even if you’re trying to be healthy or lose weight.
To be completely clear, no one’s saying salads are unhealthy…but the way you’re looking at it might be.
Salads can be surprisingly unhealthy.
Just because someone has thrown in a few ingredients and slapped on the label “salad” doesn’t mean you’re eating something that’s good for you. Check out the actual ingredients of your salad (especially if it’s prepackaged or from a fast-food restaurant), and you might be unpleasantly surprised.
Additives, like croutons and nuts, can quickly pack on the calories while adding a creamy dressing to a sad plate of lettuce and tomato can add more unhealthy fats than helpful nutrients.
Remember that when it comes to the food we eat, we should always make choices based on what will nourish and power our bodies, not just a fast and easy choice that seems healthiest.
Salads don’t usually have all of the necessary nutrients you need.
The whole gimmick of a salad is that it’s supposed to be one complete meal on one plate…but this doesn’t usually happen. Most of the time, a slew of raw (or lightly cooked) veggies and health foods are added, making salads a nutritious and fiber-rich option—but without all-important proteins, grains, and fats, you’re missing out on the added nutrients that pack a punch.
To balance the scale, you can try to be a little more mindful of the entire nutrient composition of the plate. For example, you can add fat-heavy foods like olive oil and avocados, protein-rich foods like eggs or fish, and whole grains like quinoa to make a more complete meal. Even then, it’s important to consider how to fully balance your diet if you want your nutrition to help your cognitive function. Restricting your food intake to only salads can leave you dangerously deficient in several vital nutrients including omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, calcium, and vitamin B-12. These essential nutrients play a huge role in your mental and physical health—so make sure to find a way to get them on your plate, with or without the vehicle of a salad.
A sustainable diet needs to have flexibility.
Fruits and vegetables are great for your diet, and again, no one’s denying that—but they can’t be the only things you eat. Despite their benefits, it’s impossible to live a life on salads alone, even if you’re trying to lose weight. Salad-only diets lack the nutrients to power your mind and body in the long-term, and beyond that, they’re often hard to sustain in your daily life. Cutting out other necessary foods (and occasional cravings) can make it hard to stick to your super-restrictive diet. This, in turn, can mean spiraling into overeating when you do allow yourself a break or when you end your salad-only restriction.
Instead, try making your diet sustainable by adding flexibility to your plan. This can mean eating nutrient-rich salads alongside other healthy foods like grilled fish, brown rice and legume dishes, or other whole foods that will add much-needed nutrition to your diet.
At the end of the day, you shouldn’t eat salads because you’re trying to lose weight or restrict your diet. You should eat them because you know what nutrients they contain, and you can pair those nutrients with a complete meal and a balanced diet.